The PEN/Robert J. Dau Short Story Prize for Emerging Writers recognizes 12 emerging writers each year for their debut short story published in a literary magazine, journal, or cultural website, and aims to support the launch of their careers as fiction writers. The 12 winning stories are selected by a committee of three judges who are well-respected experts in the art of the short story. The winning writers each receive a $2,000 cash prize and will be published by Catapult in their annual anthology, Best Debut Short Stories: The PEN America Dau Prize.
The prize is generously supported by the family of the late Robert J. Dau, whose commitment to the literary arts has made him a fitting namesake for this career-launching prize. Inspired by Dau’s hometown in northern Michigan and its proximity to Walloon Lake, where Ernest Hemingway spent much time and derived inspiration from, the prize promotes emerging voices and spotlights the next generation of fiction writers.