The ceremony is free and open to the public, and will be followed by a reception and book signings. For further information, please contact Kim McMillon at (510) 681-5652 or John Curl at (510) 526-9324.

PEN Oakland , founded in 1989, is a chapter of PEN International, founded in 1921. Dubbed “the blue collar PEN” by the New York Times, PEN Oakland annually sponsors the PEN Oakland-Josephine Miles Book Awards, named for the late poet and faculty member of U.C. Berkeley’s English Department. This year marks the 22st anniversary of the awards. Each year PEN Oakland presents an award to outstanding book titles published in the previous year. The Awards were created twenty years ago to honor writers of exceptional works often not acknowledged by the mainstream literary community. Judged by respected writers, the awards honor books that both reflect a multi-cultural or marginalized viewpoint and represent the highest standards of literature.


Ocotillo Dreams by Melinda Palacio.

Bilingual Review Press. (novel)

The Armageddon of Funk by Michael Warr.

Tia Chucha Press. (poetry)

Solitude of Five Moons by Aurora Harris.

Broadside Press/University of Detroit Mercy Press. (poetry)

La Negra y Blanca: Fugue & Commentary by Deena Metzger.

Hand to Hand Press. (novel)

Fug You by Ed Sanders.

Da Capo Press. (memoir)

Sugar Zone by Mary Mackey.

Marsh Hawk Press (poetry)

Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward.

Bloomsbury. (novel)


Alexander Cockburn is the winner of the 2012 Censorship Award.

Q.R. Hand will receive the 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award.


Melinda Palacio’s novel Ocotillo Dreams confronts issues of identity, politics and family secrets during the infamous 1997 immigration sweeps in Chandler, Arizona.

Michael Warr’s poems in The Armageddon of Funk form a memoir trekking across international and ideological borders, interconnecting a world of opposites.

Aurora Harris’ poems in Solitude of Five Moons remap consciousness, examine selfish pursuits and destructive thoughts, re-examine imperialism and global irresponsibility, and consult our universal soul.

Deena Metzger’s novel La Negra y Blanca explores of relationships between people, historical and imaginary, in the bloody tragedy of US imperialism in Guatemala and Latin America.

Ed Sanders’ memoir Fug You is his extraordinary personal history of New York lower east side counterculture in the 1960s.

Mary Mackey’s poems in Sugar Zone confirm the findings of magical realists, crisscrossers of the earth-wise & astral, and interpenetrators of life & death. And hence, heavy with light, sparkle in the “bleeding” throats and ears of language.

Jesmyn Ward’s novel Salvage the Bones, set in a coastal town of Mississippi, tells the story of a family and community bound together as a hurricane hurtles toward them from the Gulf of Mexico.

Alexander Cockburn, editor of CounterPunch. columnist for The Nation, and contributor to numerous publications, was fired in 1993 from the Village Voice apparently in retaliation to his criticism of the Israeli government. He fought censorship and maintained his strong, clear voice throughout his career.

Q.R. Hand’s poetry , as poet Reginald Lockett wrote, “traverses the terrain of form, music and language. Inspired, well crafted, political in intent, spirited in execution, it defies any comparison to any literary predecessors or contemporary schools of thought. Q. R. Hand is an entity unto himself; a true visionary walks among us.”


PEN Oakland, chartered in early 1989, is a chapter of the Los Angeles based PEN USA, part of PEN International, an organization of professional writers founded in London in 1921. In the words of the International charter, PEN members “pledge themselves to do their utmost to dispel race, class and national hatreds and to champion the ideal of one humanity living in peace in the world. Literature, national though it be in origin, knows no frontiers. PEN stands for the principle of unhampered transmission of thought within each nation and between all nations, and members pledge themselves to oppose any form of suppression of freedom of expression in the country and the community to which they belong.” PEN Oakland is the first chapter to target multi-cultural issues within the USA. Its unique purpose is to promote works of excellence by writers of all cultural and racial backgrounds and to educate both the public and the media as to the nature of multi-cultural work.

You can find more information at our web site:


Please note this login is to submit events or press releases. Use this page here to login for your Independent subscription

Not a member? Sign up here.