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2020 PEN America Literary Awards Finalists

This year’s PEN America Literary Awards will recognize writers and translators whose exceptional literary works were published in 2019. The winners will be announced live at the 2020 PEN America Literary Awards Ceremony on March 2.

Playlist Tags: awards: pen america best of 2019

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The Undying

Pain, Vulnerability, Mortality, Medicine, Art, Dreams, Data, Exhaustion, Cancer, and Care
By Anne Boyer
Narrated by Amy Finegan /  5 hours 4 minutes

Award-winning poet and essayist Anne Boyer delivers a one-of-a-kind meditation on illness in the age of data?sharing her true story of coping with cancer, both the illness and the industry, in The Undying. A week after her forty-first birthday, the acclaimed poet Anne Boyer was diagnosed with highly aggressive triple-negative breast cancer. For... Read more »

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$18.39 USD

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Deaf Republic

By Ilya Kaminsky
Narrated by Ilya Kaminsky /  1 hour 6 minutes

POETRY BOOK SOCIETY CHOICE 2019

Deaf Republic opens in a time of political unrest in an occupied territory. It is uncertain where we are or when, in what country or during what conflict, but we come to recognise that these events are also happening here, right now. This astonishing parable in poems unfolds episodically like a play, its powerful... Read more »

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$23.56 USD

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Where Reasons End

A Novel
By Yiyun Li
Narrated by Cassandra Campbell /  4 hours 4 minutes

A fearless writer confronts grief and transforms it into art, in a book of surprising beauty and love, "a masterpiece by a master” (Elizabeth McCracken, Vanity Fair).

"Li has converted the messy and devastating stuff of life into a remarkable work of art.”—The Wall Street Journal

WINNER OF THE PEN/JEAN STEIN AWARD • LONGLISTED FOR THE... Read more »

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$14.00 USD

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The World Doesn't Require You

Stories
By Rion Amilcar Scott
Narrated by JD Jackson /  11 hours 59 minutes

The World Doesn't Require You announces the arrival of a generational talent, as Rion Amilcar Scott shatters rigid genre lines to explore larger themes of religion, violence, and love—all told with sly humor and a dash of magical realism. Established by the leaders of the country's only successful slave revolt in the mid-nineteenth century,... Read more »

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$28.74 USD

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The Trojan War Museum

and Other Stories
By Ayse Papatya Bucak
Narrated by Emily Sutton-Smith /  6 hours 12 minutes

A debut story collection of spectacular imaginative range and lyricism from a Pushcart Prize–winning author. In Ayse Papatya Bucak's dreamlike narratives, dead girls recount the effects of an earthquake and a chess-playing automaton falls in love. A student stops eating and no one knows whether her act is personal or political. A Turkish... Read more »

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$22.99 USD

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Sabrina & Corina

Stories
By Kali Fajardo-Anstine
Narrated by Various /  7 hours 19 minutes

Latinas of Indigenous descent living in the American West take center stage in this haunting debut story collection—a powerful meditation on friendship, mothers and daughters, and the deep-rooted truths of our homelands. 

Kali Fajardo-Anstine’s magnetic story collection breathes life into her Indigenous Latina characters and the land they... Read more »

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$24.50 USD

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Home Remedies

Stories
By Xuan Juliana Wang
Narrated by Catherine Ho, Tim Chiou, Feodor Chin, James Chen, Lawrence Kao, Nancy Wu, David Shih, Cory Censoprano, Joel de la Fuente, Annie Q, Jennifer Lim & Elaine Kao /  6 hours 34 minutes

A FINALIST FOR THE NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY YOUNG LIONS FICTION AWARD • SHORTLISTED FOR THE PEN/ROBERT W. BINGHAM PRIZE FOR DEBUT SHORT STORY COLLECTION • WINNER OF THE CALIFORNIA BOOK AWARDS GOLD MEDAL IN FIRST FICTION • WINNER OF THE JOHN ZACHARIS FIRST BOOK AWARD • LONGLISTED FOR THE STORY PRIZE • NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR... Read more »

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$24.50 USD

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Lot

Stories
By Bryan Washington
Narrated by Bryan Washington, Dion Graham, JD Jackson & Bahni Turpin /  5 hours 41 minutes

Lot

“This is such a phenomenal book by a writer who should be on everyone’s radar for 2019. Washington has a detailed and poignant style that reveals the tender soul within all of his characters. None of the characters that we meet in Lot are strangers — they are our mothers, brothers, lovers, and friends. Washington pulls them all together through interlocking stories, taking us in between the cracks and revealing how these characters feel and what drives them (and what doesn’t). This series of stories, told with no agenda, explores sexual awakening and identification, gentrification and its victims, and the power of family to both save us and fail us.”

hello hello books image Allie Bangerter, hello hello books
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$21.00 USD

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Stay and Fight

A Novel
By Madeline ffitch
Narrated by Bailey Carr & Sophie Amoss /  12 hours 44 minutes

Stay and Fight

“From the first page of this debut novel set deep in Appalachia, we know that Stay and Fight is aptly named, for the way it explores the constant struggle of its characters to stay where they are while fighting for a better existence. ffitch expertly shows us the romantic, albeit brutally raw, reality of living off the grid (on one’s own terms, most importantly), a feat she somehow accomplishes in the most modestly ambitious way. Stay and Fight is fantastic.”

Community Bookstore image Caridad Cole, Community Bookstore
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$31.04 USD

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99 Nights in Logar

By Jamil Jan Kochai
Narrated by Ali Nasser /  6 hours 45 minutes

“Funny, razor-sharp, and full of juicy tales that feel urgent and illicit . . . the author has created a singular, resonant voice, an American teenager raised by Old World Afghan storytellers.” —New York Times Book Review

“More than well crafted; it’s phenomenal. . . . Kochai’s book has a big heart.” The Guardian

A dog on the loose. A boy...
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The Travelers

A Novel
By Regina Porter
Narrated by Bahni Turpin & Dominic Hoffman /  11 hours 17 minutes

The Travelers

“Spanning over 50 years and the intersection of two centuries, The Travelers weaves together the stories of two families and in the process gives an incisive portrait of a country and society in the midst of massive social change. The author artfully moves back and forth in time as the stories emerge and converge, probing the dynamics of love and family and the bounds and conflicts inherent in both. This novel is the story of two families but universal in the America it portrays.”

Square Books image Bill Cusumano , Square Books
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$31.50 USD

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A Prayer for Travelers

A Novel
By Ruchika Tomar
Narrated by Sophie Amoss /  10 hours 50 minutes

"Sometimes characters come along that demand a new kind of novel. The young women at the center of Ruchika Tomar's A Prayer for Travelers - elusive Penny and wounded Cale - are two spirits hitchhiking through geographies of dislocation and desire. The human collisions in Tomar's novel are emotionally seismic, and they leave us haunted and... Read more »

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$28.00 USD

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We Cast a Shadow

A Novel
By Maurice Carlos Ruffin
Narrated by Dion Graham /  9 hours 41 minutes

“An incisive and necessary” (Roxane Gay) debut for fans of Get Out and Paul Beatty’s The Sellout, about a father’s obsessive quest to protect his son—even if it means turning him white

“Stunning and audacious . . . at once a pitch-black comedy, a chilling horror story and an endlessly perceptive novel about the possible future of race in... Read more »

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Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead

A Novel
By Olga Tokarczuk & Antonia Lloyd-Jones
Narrated by Beata Pozniak /  11 hours 39 minutes

Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead

“Janina is an eccentric middle-aged woman who translates William Blake, studies astrology, and is acutely attuned to the wilderness around her in rural Poland. When hunters and poachers begin to be gruesomely murdered, Janina informs the police that the animals are responsible. As the bodies mount, so does her involvement with the mystery, although her status as a crank and possible madwoman ensures that she’s ignored. This is an extraordinary and disturbing tale — a mystery that becomes more complex as the story continues, accompanied by Janina’s often witty observations on man, nature, justice, and identity. The ending of this hard-to-categorize novel, a finalist for the 2019 Man Booker International Prize, will knock the breath out of you. Don’t miss this excellent translated work from an award-winning writer!”

The River's End Bookstore image Cindy Pauldine, The River's End Bookstore
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Make It Scream, Make It Burn

Essays
By Leslie Jamison
Narrated by Leslie Jamison /  9 hours 3 minutes

Make It Scream, Make It Burn

“Jamison's skills as a journalist and essayist, very much in the tradition of Didion and New Journalism, have earned her much praise, and I can only heap onto the pile. The essay, "Maximum Exposure," about the outsider photographer Annie Appel, is a masterpiece in particular. Layered like an onion, it explores the relationship between photographer and subject, and then between journalist and subject, and becomes a larger exploration of the whether impartiality is ever truly achievable, or even desirable. Jamison writes with the wisdom of someone twice her age and the wonder of someone half her age. She is a truly remarkable talent.”

The Book Table image Rachel, The Book Table
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$29.88 USD

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I Like to Watch

Arguing My Way Through the TV Revolution
By Emily Nussbaum
Narrated by Emily Nussbaum /  13 hours 42 minutes

From The New Yorker’s fiercely original, Pulitzer Prize-winning culture critic, a provocative collection of new and previously published essays arguing that we are what we watch.

“Emily Nussbaum is the perfect critic—smart, engaging, funny, generous, and insightful.”—David Grann, author of Killers of the Flower Moon


NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF... Read more »

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Trick Mirror

Reflections on Self-Delusion
By Jia Tolentino
Narrated by Jia Tolentino /  9 hours 45 minutes

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • “From The New Yorker’s beloved cultural critic comes a bold, unflinching collection of essays about self-deception, examining everything from scammer culture to reality television.”—Esquire
 
“A whip-smart, challenging book.”—Zadie Smith • “Jia Tolentino could be the Joan Didion of our time.”—Vulture


FINALIST... Read more »

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Oliver Wendell Holmes

A Life in War, Law, and Ideas
By Stephen Budiansky
Narrated by Robertson Dean /  16 hours 38 minutes

Oliver Wendell Holmes twice escaped death as a young Union officer in the Civil War when musket balls missed his heart and spinal cord by a fraction of an inch. He lived ever after with unwavering moral courage, unremitting scorn for dogma, and an insatiable intellectual curiosity. Named to the Supreme Court by Theodore Roosevelt at age... Read more »

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$34.49 USD

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Sisters and Rebels

A Struggle for the Soul of America
By Jacquelyn Dowd Hall
Narrated by Karen White /  25 hours 41 minutes

Descendants of a prominent slaveholding family, Elizabeth, Grace, and Katharine Lumpkin grew up in a culture of white supremacy. But while Elizabeth remained a lifelong believer, her younger sisters chose vastly different lives. Seeking their fortunes in the North, Grace and Katharine reinvented themselves as radical thinkers whose literary... Read more »

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Ben Hecht

Fighting Words, Moving Pictures
By Adina Hoffman
Narrated by Adina Hoffman /  6 hours 16 minutes

A vibrant portrait of one of the most accomplished and prolific American screenwriters, by an award-winning biographer and essayist. He was, according to Pauline Kael, "the greatest American screenwriter." Jean-Luc Godard called him "a genius" who "invented eighty percent of what is used in Hollywood movies today." Besides tossing off dozens of... Read more »

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$22.99 USD

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