What is PEN American Center?

PEN American Center is the U.S. branch of the world’s leading international literary and human rights organization. PEN International was founded in 1921 in direct response to the ethnic and national divisions that contributed to the First World War. PEN American Center was founded in 1922 and is the largest of the 144 PEN centers in 101 countries that together comprise PEN International.

How can I receive news about PEN?

You can sign up to receive PEN’s monthly newsletter and event mailings, or follow PEN on Facebook, Twitter, or Tumblr.


I’m not a PEN Member. Can I still attend PEN events?

Yes. Unless otherwise noted, PEN events are open to the public. PEN Members receive discounts on ticketed programs, as well as invitations to certain Member-only events.

Can PEN help me find an agent or get published?

No. PEN offers a variety of literary awards to published authors, translators, and editors, but cannot otherwise help you find an agent or get published.

My online transaction did not go through, or gave me a threatening message. What do I do?

It’s possible your transaction has been held up due to security reasons; this sometimes happens when there are minor discrepancies in the credit card information or contact information you entered. Please e-mail Jessica Paz at jpaz[at]pen[dot]org, who will identify the transaction and either push it through or suggest that you re-try. She can also be reached at (212) 334-1660 ext. 1995, to process your information over the phone.

I want to donate to PEN or support its work in some other way. What can I do?

PEN gratefully accepts tax-deductible donations as well as various non-monetary contributions.

I am interested in sponsoring or advertising with PEN. Is this possible?

Yes. There are a number of sponsorship or advertising opportunities through both our online and print publications.

Where do I apply for internships or job openings?

There are a number of internship opportunities available at PEN throughout the year. You can learn more about internship or job openings on our Opportunities page.

I used to receive a printed copy of Grants & Awards. Can I order a hard copy?

PEN America has discontinued our Grants & Awards listings.

My work has been published without my knowledge in a foreign country. What can PEN do for me?

Unfortunately, PEN does not offer legal services to its Members. Please contact your agent or the Writers’ Guild for further guidance.

Does PEN have space to rent?

No. PEN’s offices are not available for rent.


Supporting PEN

How can I donate to PEN American Center?

To make a financial contribution to PEN, please visit our support page; call the Development Department at (212) 334-1660, ext. 4823 or ext. 4815; or send a check to:

PEN American Center
Development Department
588 Broadway, Suite 303
New York, NY 10012

Can I make a contribution to a specific program?

Yes. To make a contribution to one of PEN American Center’s programs, please visit this page. However, if you choose not to restrict your contribution to a particular program, you will allow us to distribute our resources to the areas in which current needs are greatest.

In what other ways can I make contributions to PEN?

By including PEN American Center in your will, you can leave the legacy of literature and free expression for future generations. For more information on planned giving, please go here. PEN also accepts gifts of stock, as well as memorial gifts and contributions in honor of a person or event. In-kind donations or services are also greatly appreciated, including communications and computing devices; advertising and publicity; or printing, photography, and video equipment. Please contact Linda Morgan at linda[at]pen[dot]org, or call (212) 334-1660 ext. 4823.

How can my company or organization contribute to PEN?

If your company has a matching gift program, you can double, or in some cases triple your contribution. Please obtain a matching gift form from your personnel office or matching gift coordinator, fill it out completely, and send it to us. To become a corporate supporter, either by making a contribution or by purchasing a table at the annual PEN Literary Gala, please e-mail linda[at]pen[dot]org or call (212) 334-1660 ext. 4823. Sponsorship or advertising opportunities are also available through PEN’s online and print publications, as well as the annual PEN World Voices Festival of International Literature, which can offer your press, company, or organization unique access to a broad audience of cultural enthusiasts.

Is PEN American Center a 501c3 nonprofit organization?

Yes. PEN American Center is recognized as a 501c3 nonprofit organization by the Internal Revenue Service. Our Federal Tax ID number or Employer Identification Number (EIN) is 13-3447888. You can view PEN’s latest IRS Form 990 here.

Is my contribution to PEN American Center tax-deductible?

One hundred percent of your contribution is tax-deductible, unless otherwise noted. Membership dues are not deductible.


Literary Awards

Does PEN offer grants or awards to unpublished writers?

All of PEN’s Literary Awards are for writers who have already published work. The only support we offer to individuals who may not have previously published work are the PEN/Heim Translation Fund Grants. These grants go to translators who are in the process of translating works that have not previously appeared in English or have appeared only in an outdated or otherwise flawed translation. 

I see that publishers whose annual net sales are under four million dollars do not have to pay the Literary Awards submission fee. What documentation is needed to prove that my publisher qualifies to have the fee waived?

Simply mark on your submission form that your publisher’s annual net sales are under four million dollars. If we have questions about the validity of your claim, we will contact you.

Can I submit an anthology to your Translation Awards?

Anthologies of translated works are only eligible if the entire anthology has been translated by no more than two people.

When are the PEN Literary Awards?

The PEN Literary Awards Ceremony is held in the spring.



How do I become a Member of PEN?

There are two categories of membership. Professional Membership is available to individuals who have published one or more books of a literary character or one book of exceptional distinction (i.e., winning a major national prize). Also eligible are editors who have demonstrated commitment to excellence in their profession (usually construed as five years’ service in book editing); translators who have published at least one book-length literary translation; playwrights who have had one production of their work mounted in a professional theater of 250 seats or more; and literary essayists and journalists whose publications are extensive even if they have not yet been issued as a book. If you believe you qualify for Professional Membership, please submit an application for review by our Membership Committee here.

Reader Membership is open to anyone who supports PEN’s mission. Reader Membership offers many benefits, such as a subscription to PEN America, our award-winning journal, discounts to our public programs, and much more.


I’m a beginning writer. Can PEN help me get published or find an agent?

PEN American Center cannot help you place your work with a publisher or assist you in finding an agent.

I’m trying to contact a writer who is a Member of PEN American Center. Can you give me his or her contact information?

We cannot give out contact information for any of our Members. In certain circumstances we will pass on e-mails or packages, but this is only on a case-by-case basis.


PEN America Journal

What does PEN America publish?

A typical issue includes conversations, fiction, poetry, essays, graphic memoir, excerpts from PEN award-winning books, and short and long responses to the issue’s theme by solicited writers. PEN America also includes a good deal of work in translation.

Where can I buy PEN America?

You can purchase individual issues online, or receive copies as a benefit of PEN membership. You can also find the journal in bookstores across the country. If your bookstore does not carry the journal, please ask them to order it directly from us or from one of our distributors, Disticor and Ubiquity.

Who is behind PEN America?

M Mark is the editor, and Laura Swearingen-Steadwell is the associate editor. A rotating cast of interns assists with research and production.

When is the journal published?

In the spring of each year.

I love this magazine! How can I submit?

Given the abundance of material available to us from PEN events and awards, we very rarely accept unsolicited submissions to the journal.

I love this magazine! How can I support it?

If you are able, consider donating directly to the journal, or subscribing. Email us at journal[at]pen[dot]org for more information.



Pursuing a translation project can be challenging, especially for a new translator. As a compendium to the Model Contract for Literary Translations, members of the PEN Translation Committee have compiled a list of FAQs to assist you here.



My online transaction did not go through, or gave me a threatening message. What do I do?

It’s possible your transaction has been held up due to security reasons; this sometimes happens when there are minor discrepancies in the credit card or contact information you entered. Please e-mail Jessica Paz at jpaz[at]pen[dot]org, who will identify the transaction and either push it through or suggest that you re-try. She can also be reached at (212) 334-1660 ext. 1995, to process your information over the phone.

How can I receive news about PEN?

You can sign up to receive PEN’s monthly newsletter and event mailings, or follow PEN on Facebook, Twitter, or Tumblr.

What are PEN Podcasts?

Podcasting is the generic term for making audio content available for automatic download and later playback on your computer or portable devices. You “subscribe” to a podcast through music software like iTunes, and episodes are downloaded directly onto your computer when they are released, hassle-free and free of charge.

I used to receive a printed copy of Grants & Awards. Can I order a hard copy?

I used to receive a printed copy of Grants & Awards. Can I still order a hard copy? No. PEN no longer offers hard copies of its Grants & Awards listings. Our database is now available exclusively online. You can see sample listings and subscribe here.


World Voices Festival

What are the dates of the upcoming World Voices Festival of International Literature?

The World Voices Festival takes place every spring in New York City. The 2016 Festival will take place from Monday, April 25, through Sunday, May 1. For more information, please visit the Festival website. For the latest updates, subscribe to the Festival newsletter here. You can also follow the Festival on Facebook and Twitter.

I’d love to participate as a panelist or reader at the upcoming Festival. How can I submit my name for consideration?

Festival planning is a year-round process. Please email the Festival team at festival[at]pen[dot]org with an introduction to your work.

I’d like to attend Festival events. Where can I find the listing?

The Festival’s full schedule, including links for booking tickets, is available on the Festival website.

Can I purchase tickets to Festival events by calling the PEN office?

No, the PEN office does not have ticket sales facilities. Please refer to the event listings on the Festival website for ticketing information about specific events.


Writers’ Emergency Fund

Do you have to be a Member of PEN to receive grants from the Writers’ Emergency Fund?

No. Writers do not have to be Members of PEN American Center to receive a grant. The Writers’ Fund uses the following guidelines when evaluating applicants’ professional credentials (combinations of these criteria are acceptable): at least one book by a reputable publishing house; ten or more essays, short stories, or poems in literary print anthologies or literary print journals in the last two years; a full-length play, performed in a theater of over 250 seats by a professional theater company; employment as a full-time professional journalist, columnist, or critic by a reputable print periodical OR 12 or more literary reviews in a nationally recognized print periodical in the last two years. Editors and agents who have been professionally active for the last five years are also eligible.

I am unemployed. Will the Writers’ Emergency Fund give me a grant so that I can look for work / finish my novel / travel for research / edit my work / start my own publishing company?

The Writers’ Emergency Fund does not exist for research purposes, to enable the completion of writing projects, or to fund publications or organizations. The Fund is for writers in a crisis, where a grant of approximately $2,000 or less will enable them to last through the acute emergency situation. Most grants are given to those who have short-term medical or housing situations that they are financially unable to resolve independently due to a specific incident or set of incidents. The Fund cannot attempt to solve the complicated issues of long-term unemployment or continuing medical expenses.

I know of a writer that is in need of an emergency grant. How can I help them?

Please have them fill out an application here. If you are not comfortable talking to them directly, please e-mail Arielle Anema, Writers’ Emergency Fund Coordinator, at arielle[at]pen[dot]org and she will contact them confidentially. You can also help the Fund by making a donation to enable the Fund to give grants to more writers in crisis. We also encourage you to form a network; please spread word that the Writers Fund is available, and help PEN look after our colleagues in need.

If I apply for the Writers’ Emergency Fund, will my name be on any lists?

No. The Writers’ Fund is a confidential program at PEN, and protects the privacy of all applicants.