PEN America will only accept submissions from publishers or literary agents. Authors may not submit their own book for this award. Book submissions will not be considered unless officially submitted via the online form AND received at the PEN America New York office with the corresponding Declaration of Eligibility.

The PEN Open Book Award, formerly the Beyond Margins Awards, invites submissions of book-length writings by authors of color, published in the United States during the current calendar year. Works of fiction, literary nonfiction, biography/memoir, poetry, and other works of literary character are strongly preferred. The award confers a $5,000 prize upon an author of color. U.S. residency or citizenship is not required.

The Open Book Award was created by PEN America’s Open Book Committee, a group committed to racial and ethnic diversity within the literary and publishing communities. Click to view past winners of the PEN Open Book Award »

All winners and finalists for this award are eligible to receive PEN America’s official winner or finalist seal. If you are a publisher of a shortlisted or winning book for this award and are interested in obtaining PEN America’s award seal, please write to [email protected].

 

Eligibility


Submissions for the 2020 awards cycle will be accepted from June 1, 2019, through August 15, 2019.

Eligible:

  • A candidate’s work must have been published in the United States by a trade publisher between January 1, 2019, and December 31, 2019.
  • The PEN Open Book Award is open to authors of color who have not received wide media coverage.
  • Works of fiction, literary nonfiction, biography/memoir, poetry, and other works of literary character are strongly preferred.
  • U.S. residency or citizenship is not required.

NOT eligible:

  • Self-published books
  • Nonfiction that’s not of a literary character
  • Authors of color who have already received wide media coverage.

 

Submission Guidelines


  • PEN America will only accept submissions from publishers or literary agents.
  • Please download the Declaration of Eligibility. Complete all fields and have a company executive sign in order to confirm the book’s eligibility. If eligible, please upload this document along with the rest of your application below.
  • Each submission is $85*. If you would like to pay by check, please click on CHECK at checkout. Checks should be made out to PEN America. Please also submit a verified email address on the submission form; your order cannot be processed without an email address, as this info will be used to later contact you regarding the shipments of your submission. Please note that submission fees are not refundable.
  • Mail one copy of the candidate’s book, galley, or bound manuscript to the address below between June 1, 2019, and August 15, 2019.

PEN Open Book Award
PEN America
588 Broadway, Suite 303
New York, NY 10012

  • Once the submitted book is received and reviewed for eligibility by PEN America, you will be contacted by [email protected] by the end of the year and asked to ship one copy of the book to each of our three awards judges. Please add [email protected] to your safe sender list.

*Submission fees may be waived for publishers whose annual net sales are less than $2 million. In order to have your dues waived, please have a company official write a letter on company letterhead stating that your press’ annual net sales are less than $2 million. Please send this letter as an attachment (.doc or .pdf) to [email protected]. Once received, you will be provided with a coupon code to use at check-out in order to have your submission fees waived. One fee waiver may be used for all 2020 PEN Awards; you do not need to submit a separate fee waiver for each award.