Barbara Ehrenreich among winners of PEN literary awards

NEW YORK — Barbara Ehrenreich, Ross Gay and Michael X. Wang are among the winners of prizes from PEN America, the literary and human rights organization.

During a virtual ceremony Thursday night, Gay’s “Be Holding: A Poem” received the $75,000 Jean Stein Award for a book-length work which has “broken new ground by reshaping the boundaries of its form.” Ehrenreich’s “Had I Known” won the $15,000 PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for essays by a “seasoned writer” and Wang’s “Further News of Defeat” was given the $25,000 PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for the best first book of short stories.

Also Thursday, Kawai Strong Washburn’s “Sharks in the Time of Saviors” won the $10,000 PEN/Hemingway Award for best first novel, Asako Serizawa’s “Inheritors” won the $10,000 PEN Open Book Award for an outstanding work by a writer of color and Victoria Chang’s “Obit” received the $5,000 PEN/Voelcker Award for poetry.

Awards for career achievement, previously announced, were presented to Anne Carson, Kwame Dawes, Daniel Alexander Jones, Pierre Joris and George C. Wolfe.