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The PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction, formerly known as the Bellwether Prize for Fiction is a biennial award given by the PEN American Center and Barbara Kingsolver to a U.S. citizen for a previously unpublished work of fiction that address issues of social justice. The prize was established by noted author Barbara Kingsolver, and is funded by her. Winning authors receive a $25,000 award and a publishing contract, from which they receive royalties.
Submissions are judged by a panel of authors whose work shows themes of social change. Authors who have served as judges include: Russell Banks, Martin Espada, Terry Karten, Maxine Hong Kingston, Ursula K. Le Guin, Barry Lopez, Toni Morrison, Ruth Ozeki, Grace Paley, and Anna Quindlen.
In May 2011, PEN American Center announced it would take over administration of the prize, which will be known as the PEN/Bellwether Prize. The award is one of many PEN awards sponsored by International PEN affiliates in over 145 PEN centres around the world. The PEN American Center awards have been characterized as being among the "major" American literary prizes.
- 2000: Donna Gershten, Kissing The Virgin's Mouth
- 2002: Gayle Brandeis, The Book of Dead Birds
- 2004: Marjorie Kowalski Cole, Correcting the Landscape
- 2006: Hillary Jordan, Mudbound
- 2008: Heidi W. Durrow, The Girl Who Fell From the Sky
- 2010: Naomi Benaron, Running the Rift
- 2012: Susan Nussbaum, Good Kings Bad Kings
- PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction, official website.