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Baltimore native Ta-Nehisi Coates a finalist for 2016 PEN Literary Awards

The honors keep rolling in for the Baltimore-born author Ta-Nehisi Coates. He is one of five authors placed on the shortlist for the 2016 PEN Literary Awards' essay award, which carries a $10,000 prize.

Coates was recognized for his memoir, "Between the World and Me," a searing account of racism written in the form of a letter to the author's teenage son.

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The winners of the prestigious prizes in several of the eight categories, including Coates' category, will be announced at a ceremony April 11 in New York. The remaining winners will be divulged March 1.

"This year's shortlist demonstrates a vast trove of literary talent, including venerable greats who continue to reach new creative heights as well as brand new voices," Suzanne Nossel, executive director of PEN America, the organization which awards the prizes, said in a news release.

The other four finalists in the essay category are: Renata Adler's "After the Tall Timber: Collected Non-Fiction"; Susan Howe's "The Quarry"; Marilynne Robinson's "The Givenness of Things: Essays" and David L. Ulin's "Sidewalking: Coming to Terms with Los Angeles."

"Between the World and Me" picked up a National Book Award for Nonfiction in November.That honor came two months after Coates, a national correspondent for The Atlantic magazine now living in Paris, was awarded a $625,000 "genius grant" as a 2015 fellow of the MacArthur Foundation.

Coates recently won the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center Prize for Writing to Advance Social Justice for "The Case for Reparations," his June 2014 cover story in The Atlantic. That piece also won a George Polk Award for commentary.

Still to come on the literary awards circuit: the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction. The finalists and winner will be announced in April.

mary.mccauley@baltsun.com

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