PEN New England

PEN new england


“Literature is the best thing humanity has. Poetry is the heart of literature, the highest concentration of everything that is the best in the world and in man. It is the only true food for your soul.”  
Lyudmila Ulitskaya



We are a chapter of PEN American Center, part of a global association of writers celebrating literature and defending free expression. We make our home at the MIT School of Humanities, Arts & Social Sciences.

The 2015 Winner: All Fishermen Are Liars

The 2015 Cerulli Sports Writing Award winner is All Fishermen Are Liars (Simon & Schuster) by John Gierach.

Judges Sally Jenkins, author and Washington Post reporter, and Steve Wulf of ESPN made their choice with unbridled enthusiasm. “The tuning fork went off on the first page. And  it continues to vibrate” said Jenkins. “He’s the rare writer who makes you study his pages, going, ‘How did he do that?’ ”  She added, “I don’t fish. And yet I find myself absorbed by sentences about line weights.”

“Yes, it’s about fly fishing”, said Wulf, “but it’s also about discovering Mother Nature and human nature, in essays as intricately and lovingly fashioned as a steelhead fly. It’s poetry disguised as a fish story.” He added, “All Fishermen Are Liars is a fitting choice. We’re standing here in Fenway Park where Ted Williams played ball and Red Smith sat in the press box. Both were expert fly fishermen and we’re pretty sure they would have approved.”

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The 2013–2014 Winner: The Kid

The winner of the 2013 Cerulli Award for Excellence in Sports Writing/Biography is Ben Bradlee Jr. for The Kid: The Immortal Life of Ted Williams (Little, Brown and Company).

In the tradition of John Updike’s famous New Yorker essay, “Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu,” Bradlee, with eloquence and grace, delivers 53 years later the definitive biography of one of the greatest athletes of the game. As Ken Burns writes of Bradlee’s book, “The barnacles of sentimentality and nostalgia that beset a look backward into the ‘golden age’ of baseball suggest that we would never know about that complicated genius of the plate Ted Williams. But here he is, fully realized with all the glory and guts and all the controversial and all-too-real aspects of this human being intact. Bravo.” Meticulously researched and beautifully written, The Kid brings Ted Williams to life.

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The Inaugural Winner: Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk

The winner of the inaugural Cerulli Award for Excellence in Sports Writing was Ben Fountain for Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (Ecco).

Ben Fountain’s remarkable debut novel follows the surviving members of the heroic Bravo Squad through one exhausting stop in their media-intensive "Victory Tour" at Texas Stadium, football mecca of the Dallas Cowboys, their fans, promoters, and cheerleaders.

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