Jamel Brinkley

Jamel Brinkley on PEN Faulkner Award 2024 shortlist

Jamel Brinkley is on the shortlist for the PEN Faulkner Award 2024 announced on Tuesday, March 5, 2024.

The PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, first handed out in 1981, is awarded annually by the PEN/Faulkner Foundation to the authors of the year’s best works of fiction by living US American citizens. Some of the previous winners have been Imbolo Mbue in 2017 and Deesha Philyaw in 2021.

The jury this year comprises New York Times bestselling author Xochitl Gonzalez, cartoonist, novelist, and poet Alan Michael Parker, as well as author and academic Lynn Steger Strong. This panel considered 445 eligible novels and short story collections by American authors published in the US during the 2023 calendar year. Submissions came from 205 publishing houses, including small and academic presses with the longlists announced on February 6.

The shortlist was announced by the jury who said: “In addition to spectacular craft and exquisite prose, what captivated us about each of these books was their humanity, empathy, and deep insight into what it means to be alive in this particular moment. They not only mirror the world back to us, they offer new ways of seeing, new ways of wondering about what else life and art might be. Noteworthy, too, is the pleasure of each: immersive and transporting, these books offered worlds, characters, and stories we still yearned for long after we’d turned the last page.”

Among the shortlistees is Witness (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux) by Jamel Brinkley. Brinkley is the author of A Lucky Man, which won the Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence and was a finalist for the National Book Award, the John Leonard Prize, and the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award. His work has appeared in The Paris Review, A Public Space, Ploughshares, and The Best American Short Stories.  

The “first among equals” winner, who will receive $15,000, will be announced in early April. The remaining four finalists will each receive an honorarium of $5,000. All five authors—along with this year’s PEN/Faulkner Literary Champion—will be honoured on May 2 at the 44th Anniversary PEN/Faulkner Award Celebration in Washington, DC, USA.

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