Tuesday, 1 March 2016


The American writer and Nobel laureate Toni Morrison has won the $25,000 PEN/Saul Bellow Award for Achievement in American Fiction.

Toni Morrison
(photo: T. Greenfield-Sanders)
The prize, awarded by PEN America, was announced on March 1 as part of the organization’s 2016 Literary Awards, which span fiction, drama, sports writing, biography, translation, poetry, and other genres, and amount to more than $200,000.

“The works of Chloe Anthony Wofford, better known as Toni Morrison, have changed the landscape of American fiction,” said the judges in their citation. “Revelatory, intelligent, bold, her fiction is invested in the black experience, in black lives, and in black consciousness, material from which she has forged a singular American aesthetic. Toni Morrison not only opened doors to others when she began to publish, she has also stayed grounded in the issues of her time.”

Morrison, 85 years old, is the author of internationally acclaimed books such The Bluest Eye, Song of Solomon and Beloved.

Meanwhile, Lisa Ko won the PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction, an award founded by writer Barbara Kingsolver and worth $25,000 as well. This prize is given to an author of an unpublished novel that addresses issues of social justice, and it includes a publishing contract with Algonquin Books.

One of Morrison's books.
PEN America said that all award recipients will be honored at the 2016 PEN Literary Awards Ceremony which will be held April 11 at The New School in New York City.

Besides the awards for literary translation, sports writing, drama and poetry - also announced today - other prizes include the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction, PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay, PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award, PEN Open Book Award, and the PEN/FUSION Emerging Writers Prize, the organization said.

PEN works to advance literature and to defend free expression. For more information,see: http://www.pen.org.