PEN is happy to announce the launch of the 2015 PEN/Heim Translation Series, which showcases the diverse projects from around the world funded by this year’s PEN/Heim Translation Fund Grants.

The Fund received a record 226 applications this year spanning a wide array of languages of origin, including Mongolian, Icelandic, Czech, Hebrew, Portuguese, Japanese, and Awadhi/Bhojpuri Hindi. Our editors also asked the translators to write short essays about what originally drew them to their projects and why these projects feel relevant.

Now in its 12th year, the PEN/Heim Translation Fund awards grants of $2,000 to $4,000 to promote the publication and reception of translated world literature in English. It was established in the summer of 2003 by a gift of $730,000 from Priscilla and Michael Henry Heim in response to the dismayingly low number of literary translations currently appearing in English. 

The source of the money had been kept secret until the passing of Michael Heim, himself a distinguished literary translator and Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures at UCLA, whereupon his wife agreed that it was the right time to share the information with the world. There was no wealthy relative or stock market killing that made this gift possible. Michael’s father was a Hungarian composer who served in the U.S. Army during World War II, and the death benefit the family received when he was killed in 1945 was set aside, untouched, for 60 years. Through careful investment and the most frugal of lifestyles, Priscilla and Michael slowly built up the money, with the dream of helping future generations of translators share their gifts and passions with the world—and to help prod publishers into doing more to recognize and celebrate literature in translation.

Among the 108 projects awarded grants in the Fund’s first 10 years of operation (2004–2013), 70 of those (roughly 65%) have thus far been published or are forthcoming from a publisher. We hope to increase that number with this year’s projects.

View the 2015 projects here.

2015 PEN/Heim Translation Fund Grant Recipients

Allison M. Charette for Beyond the Rice Fields, a novel by Naivo.

Jennifer Croft for The Books of Jacob, a novel by Olga Tokarczuk.

Stephan Delbos and Tereza Novická for The Absolute Gravedigger, a collection of poems by Vítězslav Nezval.

Amanda DeMarco for New Inventions and the Latest Innovations, fiction by Gaston de Pawlowski. 

Adriana X. Jacobs for The Truffle Eye, a collection of poems by Vaan Nguyen. 

Roy Kesey for The Cousins, a novel by Aurora Venturini.

Lee Klein for Revulsion: Thomas Bernhard in San Salvador, fiction by Horacio Castellanos Moya. 

Dong Li for The Gleaner Song, a collection of poems by Song Lin. 

Meg Matich for Cold Moons, a collection of poems by Magnús Sigurðsson.

Jacob Moe for Part Time Dragons, a collection of short stories by Maria Mitsora. 

Rajiv Mohabir for Holi Songs of Demerara, a collection of folk songs by Lalbihari Sharma. 

Takami Nieda for GO, a novel by Kazuki Kaneshiro. 

Zoë Perry for Opisanie Świata, a novel by Veronica Stigger.

Will Schutt for The Selected Poems of Edoardo Sanguineti.

Sophie Seita for Subsisters: Selected Poems, by Uljana Wolf. 

Simon Wickhamsmith for The End of the Dark Era, a collection of poems by Tseveendorjin Oidov. 

Since 2009, the Fund’s annual contribution for grant awards has been augmented by support from Amazon.