PEN America Literary Awards Poetry in Translation

Founded in 1996, the PEN Award for Poetry in Translation recognizes book-length translations of poetry from any language into English. The award confers a $3,000 prize to the translator of the winning book. Eligible books may have up to two translators. 

All winners, finalists, and longlisters for this award are eligible to receive PEN America’s official emblems. If you are a publisher and interested in obtaining PEN America’s award emblem, please write to [email protected]. For more information, please visit our FAQ page.

Submissions open from June 1 – August 1, 2024 for books published in the 2024 calendar year. 

Featured Winner

Judges: Baba Badji, Mona Kareem, Julia Leverone

The Loose Pearl by Paula Ilabaca Nuñez translated from Spanish by Daniel Borzutzky (Coimpress) 


From the judges’ citation: “In this courageous translation of Paula Ilabaca Nuñez’s The Loose Pearl, Daniel Borzutzky moves through the prose and the poetic, acutely, to bring us closer to the vulnerability of language. With such risks, he takes translation into a new direction, opening a new conversation around the practice and the choice of the translator. Borzutzky introduces English readers to the work of Ilabaca Nuñez not through a selection of her work, but with a specific artwork that she had first published on her blog in 2017 as a series of poems and images. The speaker in this book is split between the pearl and the loose one as she challenges her translator to carry her poems through gender, language, power, and sex. The Spanish of Ilabaca Nuñez is neatly and brilliantly rendered so that the anguish of experience comes through; Borzutzky extends the legacy of revolutionary Chilean poetry through this deft work, adding to a complex national and global conversation about what poetry can do for and in the social and political spheres, and how translation raises words and bodies to the stage.”

book cover for paula ilabaca nunez the loose pearl, a woman in profile

2023 Finalists

No Way in the Skin without This Bloody Embrace, Jean D’Amérique (Ugly Duckling Presse)
Translated from French by Conor Bracken

The Loose Pearl, Paula Ilabaca Nuñez (Coimpress) 
Translated from Spanish by Daniel Borzutzky 

Let Us Believe in the Beginning of the Cold Season, Forough Farrokhzad (New Directions Publishing)
Translated from Persian by Elizabeth T. Gray, Jr. 

distant transit, Maja Haderlap (Archipelago Books)
Translated from German by Tess Lewis

Adela Zamudio: Selected Poetry & Prose, Adela Zamudio (Fuente Fountain Books)
Translated from Spanish by Lynette Yetter


Previous Winners

2022 Everything I Don’t Know, Jerzy Ficowski (World Poetry Books)
Translated from the Polish by Jennifer Grotz and Piotr Sommer

2021 Steve Bradbury for his translation from the Chinese of Raised by Wolves: Poems and Conversations, Amang (Phoneme Media)

2020 Kristin Dykstra and Nancy Gates Madsen for their translation from the Spanish of The Winter Garden Photograph by Reina María Rodríguez (Ugly Duckling Presse)

2019 Richard Sieburth for his translation from the French of A Certain Plume by Henri Michaux (NYRB)

2017 Simon Armitage for his translation from Middle English of Pearl: A New Verse Translation (Liveright/W.W Norton & Company)

2016 Sawako Nakayasu, for her translation from the Japanese of The Collected Poems of Chika Sagawa (Canarium Books)

2015 Eliza Griswold, I Am the Beggar of the World: Landays from Contemporary Afghanistan by Anonymous (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

2014 Karen Emmerich & Edmund Keeley, Diaries of Exile by Yannis Ritsos (Archipelago)

2013 Molly Weigel, The Shock of the Lenders and Other Poems by Jorge Santiago Perednik (Action Books)

2012 Jen Hofer, Negro Marfil/ Ivory Black by Myriam Moscona (Les Figues Press)

2011 Khaled Mattawa, Adonis: Selected Poems by Adonis and Khaled Mattawa (Yale University Press)

2010 Anne Carson, An Orestia by Auschylus, Sophocles, Euripides (Faber & Faber)

2009 Marilyn Hacker, King of a Hundred Horsemen by Marie Étienne (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)

2008 Rosmarie Waldrop, Lingos I-IX by Ulf Stolterfoht (Burning Deck)

2007 David Hinton, The Selected Poems of Wang Wei by Wang Wei (New Directions)

2006 Wilson Baldridge, Recumbents by Michel Deguy (Wesleyan Poetry Series)

2005 Pierre Joris, Lightduress by Paul Celan (Green Integer)

2004 Peter Cole, J’Accuse by Aharon Shabtal (New Directions)

2003 Khaled Mattawa, Without an Alphabet, Without a Face: Selected Poems of Saadi Youssef (Graywolf)

2002 Anne Twitty, Islandia by Maria Negroni (Station Hill)

2001 Chana Bloch and Chana Kronfeld, Open Closed Open by Yehuda Amicha (Harcourt)

2000 James Brasfield and Oleh Lysheha, The Selected Poems of Oleh Lysheha (Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute)

1999 Richard Zenith, Fernando Pessoa & Co (Grove)

1998 Eamon Grennan, Selected Poems by Giacomo Leopardi (Princeton)

1997 Edward Snow, Uncollected Poems by Rainer Maria Rilke (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)

1996 Guy Davenport, editor and translator, 7 Greeks (New Directions)


Who is Eligible:

  • Eligible titles must be original book-length poetry translations, by a single original author, published between January 1 and December 31 of the applicable calendar year by a U.S. trade publisher.
  • Eligible books may have up to two translators but are limited to one original author. 
  • Eligible books must be previously published in a language other than English.
  • Translators may be of any nationality. U.S. residency or citizenship is not required.
  • Books may have no more than two translators.
  • If you submit a book for this award, you may not submit it for any additional PEN America Literary Awards, with the exception of the PEN Open Book Award. Please note that the PEN/Faulkner Award is not considered a PEN America Literary Award.

NOT Eligible:

  • Prose (nonfiction or fiction).
  • Reprints or retranslations, unless the work can be said to provide a significant revision of the original translation.
  • Books with more than two translators.
  • Translations-in-progress are not accepted; to submit a translation-in-progress, please see the PEN/Heim Translation Fund Grants.

Submission Guidelines

  • All submitted books must be published by a trade or academic publisher between January 1 and December 31 in the applicable year. Self-published books are ineligible for the PEN America Literary Awards.
  • Books with more than one original author are ineligible for the PEN America Literary Awards.
  • PEN America will only accept submissions from publishers or literary agents. Authors may not submit their own books.
  • On the submission form, please select the award you are submitting to.
  • Submissions of a book to multiple awards is allowed only in the case of the PEN Open Book Award. Please complete a separate submission for this award if applicable.
  • Please submit verified email addresses on the submission form. Your order cannot be processed without an email address. Additional contacts are required so that we may be in contact directly if an author or translator is selected as a longlister, finalist, and/or winner.
  • Upload a PDF file of the galley or final manuscript on the book submissions form. Book award submissions will be read as PDF files. Please upload the file saved as BOOKTITLE_AUTHORNAME. For the judges’ convenience, please upload a book file WITHOUT watermarks. Each book file will be kept confidentially between the Literary Awards team and the awards judges. Please note that if a book is longlisted, PEN America may request a physical copy be sent to the judging panel.
  • Upload a high-resolution book jacket photo. This may be used later if the book is longlisted, a finalist, or a winner.
  • Each submission is $85. Submission fees are not refundable. Please note that all payments must be made via the submission form.
  • Submission fees may be waived for publishers whose annual net sales are less than $2 million. You may request an exemption here—this form asks for a letter on company letterhead stating that the press’s annual net sales are less than $2 million. Do not submit your title before requesting your fee exemption, as the Literary Awards Team will provide you with an alternative submission method. 
  • Once the submitted book is received and reviewed for eligibility by PEN America, it will be passed along to the judges. Please add [email protected] to your address book, as it will be the main point of contact from PEN America.