Frank Bidart and James Wolcott Among 2014 PEN Literary Award Winners

August 7, 2014

The PEN American Center announced the winners of the 2014 PEN Literary Awards last week, which include poet Frank Bidart, critic James Wolcott, and playwright David Rabe.

Bidart received the PEN/Voelcker Award for Poetry for his recent collection, Metaphysical Dog, which “seems to many poets the best book he has ever written,” the judges said. The collection was also a finalist for the 2013 National Book Award.

Wolcott received the PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for his collection of four decades of essays, Critical Mass. In a New York Times review, Dwight Garner called the collection “epic” and described the author as “the last of the great, garrulous, generalist critics, equally at home writing about TV, movies, literature, music, comedy clubs, you name it… [his collection is] a vacuum-packed anthology of tight arguments and shrewd observations.”

The PEN/Laura Pels International Foundation for Theater Awards went to Rabe, a Tony Award-winning playwright known for his 1984 plays Hurlyburly and Sticks and Bones, in the master dramatist category, Donald Margulies in the mid-career category, and Laura Marks in the emerging playwright category.

Linda Leavell’s Holding On Upside Down: The Life and Work of Marianne Moore won the PEN/Jacqueline Bograd Weld Award for Biography. Carl Hart, a neuroscientist who wrote High Price, a critical look at the war on drugs, received the PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award.

Ron Childress’s And West Is West (to be published in Fall 2015) won the $25,000 PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction.

The winner of the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction and its $25,000 purse will be announced at a ceremony at The New School on September 29, 2014. Finalists include Anthony Marra (A Constellation of Vital Phenomena), Saïd Sayrafiezadeh (Brief Encounters With the Enemy) and Hanya Yanagihara (The People in the Trees).

External patrons fund each award. To find out more about PEN Literary Awards, visit PEN American’s website.

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