The PEN/Jean Stein Grant for Literary Oral History recognizes a literary work of nonfiction that uses oral history to illuminate an event, individual, place, or movement. The winner receives a $10,000 grant meant to help maintain or complete his or her ongoing project and will be honored at the annual PEN Literary Awards Ceremony in New York City.

Click to view past winners of the PEN/Jean Stein Grant for Literary Oral History »



Submissions for the 2019 awards cycle will be accepted from June 1, 2018 through August 15, 2018. 


  • The submitted project must be the work of a single individual, written in English.
  • The project must be an unpublished work-in-progress.
  • The project must be a work of literary nonfiction.
  • Oral history must be a significant component of the project and its research.

NOT eligible:

  • Scholarly or academic writing


Submission guidelines

  • The online submission form requires the following:
    • A 1-2 page, single-spaced description of the work, its importance, and why the author chose to undertake this project.
    • A 1-2 page, single-spaced statement explaining why and how oral history was used in the project.
    • A 300-500 word statement explaining how a grant would aid in the completion of the project.
    • A CV for the author of the project, which should include information on any previous publications.
    • An outline that includes the work completed thus far and the work remaining. The outline should include the names of all participants.
    • Transcripts of the project interviews (6-10 pages).
    • A writing sample from the project (20-40 pages).



  • Should I submit a section of the raw, unedited transcript in addition to the writing sample comprised of edited transcripts?
    • Explain the situation in your application, and then include a section of the unedited transcript for the transcript section and the edited transcripts as the writing sample.
  • In regards to the amount of pages requested for both the project transcript and the writing sample (6-10 and 20-40 respectively) is that single or double-spaced?
    • The project transcript and writing sample should be double-spaced.