Science fiction author Ted Chiang has won the PEN/Malamud Award, given annually by the PEN/Faulkner Foundation to honor writers “who have demonstrated exceptional achievement in the short story form.”

Chiang made his literary debut in 1989 with the short story “Tower of Babylon,” which was published in Omni magazine and won a Nebula Award the following year. He would go on to win three more Nebulas, along with four Hugo Awards.

He is the author of two story collections: the 2002 book Stories of Your Life and Others, and the 2019 collection Exhalation. A novella from his first book, “Story of Your Life,” was adapted for the 2016 film Arrival, directed by Denis Villeneuve and starring Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, and Forest Whitaker.

Jung Yun, chair of the PEN/Malamud Award committee, said in a statement, “Whether set in an alternate version of the past, or one possible version of the future, his work prompts important questions that are deeply relevant to how we live today. In doing so, Chiang exemplifies Bernard Malamud’s belief that a short story can produce ‘the surprise and effect of a profound knowledge in a short time.’”

Chiang said he was “surprised and delighted” to win the award.

“The short story has played a central role in the history of science fiction; I grew up reading anthologies where every story contained a different world, and I feel privileged to be a part of science fiction’s growing acceptance in the wider literary world,” he said. “As a writer I appreciate the way the short story allows me to focus on a single idea or moment, and it’s wonderful to receive an award that celebrates the form.”

The PEN/Malamud Award was established in 1988. Past winners include Eudora Welty, Alice Munro, Lorrie Moore, John Edgar Wideman, and Edwidge Danticat.

Michael Schaub is a contributing writer.