The late Ursula K. Le Guin was among the recipients of literary honors presented Tuesday night by PEN America.
The science fiction/fantasy author’s “No Time to Spare” won a $10,000 prize for best essay writing. Le Guin died last month at age 88 and her award was announced during a New York ceremony hosted by PEN, the literary and human rights organization.
Poet Layli Long Soldier’s debut collection “Whereas” won a $75,000 award for the year’s best book. Jenny Zhang’s story collection “Sour Heart” received a $25,000 prize for best debut fiction and Alexis Okeowo’s “A Moonless, Starless Sky: Ordinary Women and Men Fighting Extremism in Africa” won a $5,000 award given to outstanding works by “authors of color.”
“This year’s awardees represent the near and far corners of the literary landscape, including writers who have shattered barriers of race, class, ethnicity, geography, gender and sexual orientation to bring stories to new audiences, unlock empathy and take places of distinction within our collective canon,” PEN America Executive Director Suzanne Nossel said in a statement. “In times of challenge great literature offers a desperately needed window onto other possibilities.”
Lifetime achievement awards had been previously announced and were given to Edmund White, who won the PEN/Saul Bellow Award for American fiction, and Edna O’Brien, winner of the PEN/Nabokov Award for international literature.