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Oxford Conference for the Book Participants Again Nominated for National Awards

Congratulations to two authors participating in the upcoming Oxford Conference for the Book (March 29-31). Both Jonathan Escoffery and Alejandro Varela are PEN America Literary Awards Longlisters.

Book jackets for If I Survive You and The Town of Babylon

Jonathan Escoffery has made the longlist for both the 2023 PEN/Jean Stein Book Award and the 2023 PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Short Story Collection for his book, If I Survive You. His OCB session will take place on Thursday, March 30, with Deesha Philyaw (a 2020 National Book Award finalist and winner of the 2021 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction) and literary influencer Jerid P. Woods (Akili Nzuri). This session is sponsored by the National Book Foundation.

Alejandro Varela has been named to the 2023 PEN Open Book Award longlist for his debut novel, The Town of Babylon. His OCB session will take place on Thursday, March 30, with essayist and novelist Anjali Enjeti and novelist and University of Mississippi visiting writer Sheila Sundar.

For more information on these sessions and others, visit the OCB schedule.

A special shoutout goes to last year’s OCB keynoter, Imani Perry, for being named to the 2023 PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award for Nonfiction Longlist for her book South to America: A Journey below the Mason-Dixon to Understand the Soul of a Nation, which also won the 2022 National Book Award for Nonfiction.

Both Escoffery and Varela made the lists for the National Book Awards for Fiction this year. Much like the National Book Awards, the PEN America’s Literary Awards are juried by panels of esteemed, award-winning authors, editors, translators, and critics. These authors are committed to recognizing their contemporaries, from promising debut writers to those who have had a continuous, lasting impact on the literary landscape. Finalists for the PEN America’s Literary Awards will be announced in February 2023.

The Oxford Conference for the Book is especially grateful to the National Book Foundation for its continued commitment to celebrating the best literature published in the United States, expanding its audience, and ensuring that books have a prominent place in our culture. Stay tuned for more, and congratulations to Jonathan Escoffery, Alejandro Varela, and Imani Perry.