PEN/Heim Translation Fund Grants

The PEN/Heim Translation Fund was established in the summer of 2003 by an endowed gift of $730,000 from Michael Henry Heim and Pricilla Heim, in response to the dismayingly low number of literary translations currently appearing in English. Its purpose is to promote the publication and reception of translated international literature in English. As of 2015, each grant recipient receives a copy of The Man Between: Michael Henry Heim and a Life in Translation, generously provided by Open Letter Books. As of 2017, under the administering of the PEN/Heim Translation Fund, PEN America will also offer the PEN Grant for the English Translation of Italian Literature. From the pool of annual submissions, judges for the PEN/Heim Translation Fund will select one project of narrative prose that has been translated into English from the Italian to receive this award, which will come with a $5,000 prize. Any applicant who submits to the PEN/Heim Translation Fund with a project that is a translation of narrative prose from the Italian into English will be automatically considered for the PEN Grant for the Translation of Italian Literature. 

Thanks to the generosity of Michael Henry Heim and Pricilla Heim’s endowment, PEN America has awarded grants to almost 200 winning projects. From 2009, the Fund’s annual contribution for grant awards has been augmented by support from Amazon. The Fund has been uniquely successful in finding publishers for major international works, encouraging younger translators to enter the field, and introducing English-speaking readers to new and exciting voices. All other criteria being equal, preference is given to translators at the beginning of their career, and to works by underrepresented writers working in underrepresented languages.

Over the 16 years of its existence, the Fund has given grants of $2,000–$4,000 to nearly 200 translations from over 35 languages, including Armenian, Basque, Estonian, Farsi, Finland-Swedish, Lithuanian and Mongolian, as well as French, Spanish, German, Russian, Chinese, Japanese, and Arabic. Among the 108 projects awarded grants in the Fund’s first 13 years of operation (2004–2016), 91 (nearly 70 percent) have thus far been published or are forthcoming from a publisher. Many of those books found their publishers as a result of being awarded a grant by the Fund. In addition to being excerpted and favorably reviewed in a host of magazines including The New YorkerThe New York Review of BooksGrantaThe Paris ReviewWords Without BordersThe Literary ReviewMandorla, and many others, about 20 percent of the published PEN/Heim Translation Fund projects have won or been shortlisted for major literary awards.

 

Award-winning Translations supported by PEN/Heim Grants

Winner of the 2009 Northern California Book Award for Translation

Winner of the R. R. Hawkins Award from the Professional and Scholarly Publishing Division of the APA, Outstanding Professional, Reference or Scholarly Book of 2007 and Winner of the 2007 National Jewish Book Award for Poetry

Finalist for a National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry

Winner of the 2006 Helen and Kurt Wolff Translator’s Prize from the Goethe-Institut Chicago

Grant Recipients

For the 2019 cycle, the Translation Fund received a large number of applications—237 in total—from a wide array of languages of origin, genres, and time periods. From this vast field of applicants, the Fund’s Advisory Board has selected 11 projects, spanning 8 different languages, including French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Indonesian, Chinese, Danish, and Hungarian. Of the winning translations, 64 percent are by female translators, and 45 percent are translations of books written by female authors. PEN America has awarded grants to nearly 200 winning projects to date and you can search the full list of recipients below.

2019 Grant Recipients

View the full list and excerpts here.

Bruna Dantas Lobato’s translation from the Portuguese of Moldy Strawberries: Stories by Caio Fernando Abreu

Stephen Epstein’s translation from the Indonesian of The Wandering: Choose Your Own Red Shoes Adventure by Intan Paramaditha

Misha Hoekstra’s translation from the Danish of New Passengers by Tine Høeg

Lucas Klein’s translation from the Chinese of Words as Grains: New and Selected Poems of Duo Duo

Simon Leser’s translation from the French of Of Our Wounded Brothers by Joseph Andras

Emma Lloyd’s translation from the Spanish of Of Pearls and Scars by Pedro Lemebel

Ottilie Mulzet’s translation from the Hungarian of Gábor Schein’s Swedish (2nd, revised edition)

Catherine Nelson’s translation from the Spanish of Tea Rooms: Working Women by Luisa Carnés

Julia Powers’s translation from the Portuguese of Selected Poems of Hilda Hilst

Lara Vergnaud’s translation from the French of The Ardent Swarm by Yamen Manai

Hope Campbell Gustafson’s translation from the Italian of The Commander of the River by Ubah Cristina Ali Farah

Award-Winning Translations
  • Winner of the 2009 Northern California Book Award for Translation: Katherine Silver for Senselessness by Horacio Castellanos Moya (New Directions, 2008) 
  • Winner of the R. R. Hawkins Award from the Professional and Scholarly Publishing Division of the Association of American Publishers, as the Outstanding Professional, Reference or Scholarly Book of 2007: Peter Cole for The Dream of the Poem: Hebrew Poetry from Muslim and Christian Spain, 950–1492 (Princeton University Press, 2007)
  • Winner of the 2007 National Jewish Book Award for Poetry: Peter Cole for The Dream of the Poem: Hebrew Poetry from Muslim and Christian Spain, 950–1492 (Princeton University Press, 2007)
  • Finalist for a National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry: Karen Emmerich for her translation of Miltos Sachtouris’ Poems (1945–1971) from the Greek (Archipelago Books, 2007)
  • Winner of the 2006 Helen and Kurt Wolff Translator’s Prize from the Goethe-Institut Chicago: Susan Bernofsky for her translation of Jenny Erpenbeck’s The Old Child and Other Stories from the German (New Directions, 2005)
  • Support from the Lannan Foundation’s Translation Selections Series: Idra Novey’s translation of Brazilian poet Pablo Henriques Britto’s The Clean Shirt of It: Selected Poems(BOA Editions, 2007)
  • Short-listed for Canada’s highly prestigious Griffin Poetry Prize in 2006: Liz Winslow’s translation of Iraqi poet Dunya Mikhail’s The War Works Hard (New Directions, 2005)
  • Named one of the 25 Books to Remember of 2005 by the New York Public Library: Liz Winslow’s translation of Dunya Mikhail’s The War Works Hard (New Directions, 2005)
Published Translations

2004

Philip Boehm for his translation from the German of Settlement by Christoph Hein
Metropolitan Books, 2008
Amazon

Peter Cole for his translation from the Hebrew of The Dream of the Poem: Hebrew Poetry from Muslim and Christian Spain, c. 950-1492
Princeton University Press, 2007
Amazon

Forrest Gander with Kent Johnson for their translation from the Spanish of The Night by Jaime Saenz
Princeton University Press, 2007
Amazon

Idra Novey for her translation from the Portugese of The Clean Shirt of It by Paulo Henriques Britto
BOA Editions Ltd., 2007
Amazon

Joonseong “Jason” Park for his translation from the Korean of Diary of a Vagabond by Song Young
Codhill Press, 2008
Amazon

Gerald Turner for his translation from the Czech of Europeana: A Brief History of the Twentieth Century by Patrik Ouředník
Dalkey Archive Press, 2005
Amazon | Indiebound

Elizabeth Winslow for her translation from the Arabic of The War Works Hard by Dunya Mikhail
New Directions, 2005
Amazon | Indiebound

2005

Chris Andrews for his translation from the Spanish of Last Evenings on Earth by Roberto Bolaño
New Directions, 2007
Amazon | Indiebound

Rachel Tzvia Back for her translation from the Hebrew of Selected Poetry and Drama by Lea Goldberg
Toby’s Press Hebrew Classics, 2005
Amazon

Susan Bernofsky for her translation from the German of The Old Child and Other Stories by Jenny Erpenbeck
New Directions, 2005
Amazon

Karen Emmerich for her translation from the Greek of Poems (1945-1971) by Miltos Sachtouris
Archipelago Books, 2006
Amazon

Jason Grunebaum for his translation from the Hindi of The Girl with the Golden Parasol by Uday Parkash
Penguin India, 2008
Amazon | Indiebound

Deborah Hoffman for her translation from the Russian of The Littlest Enemies: Children in the Shadow of the Gulag edited by Samuilovich Vilenskii
Slavica Publishers, 2009
Amazon

Elizabeth Macklin for her translation from the Basque of Meanwhile Take My Hand: Poems by Kirmen Uribe
Graywolf Press, 2007
Amazon

Susanna Nied for her translation from the Danish of Butterfly Valley: A Requiem by Inger Christensen
New Directions, 2004
Amazon | Indiebound

Laima Sruoginis for her translation from the Lithuanian of My Voice Betrays Me by Vanda Juknaite
East European Monographs, 2007
Amazon

George Szirtes for his translation from the Hungarian of War and War by Laszlo Krasznahorkai
New Directions, 2006
Amazon | Indiebound

Paul Vincent for his translation from the Dutch of Summer in Termurin by Louis Paul Boon
Dalkey Archive Press, 2006
Amazon

Susan Wilf for her translation from the Chinese of Chinese of Confessions: An Innocent Life in Communist China by Kang Zhengguo
W. W. Norton, 2007
Amazon | Indiebound

2006

Johannes Göransson for his translation from the Swedish of Ideals Clearance by Henry Parland
Ugly Duckling Press, 2007
Amazon

Victoria Häggblom for her translation from the Swedish of To Mervas by Elisabeth Rynell
Archipelago Books, 2010
Amazon | Indiebound

Nicola Harman for her translation from the Swedish of Banished! by Han Dong
University of Hawaii Press, 2009
Amazon

Sawako Nakayasu for her translation from the Japanese of For the Fighting Spirit of the Walnutby Takashi Hiraide
New Directions, 2008
Amazon

Tegan Raleigh for her translation from the French of The Tongue’s Blood Does Not Run Dry: Algerian Stories by Assia Djebar
Seven Stories Press, 2006
Amazon

Constantine Rusanov for his translation from the Lithuanian of The Junction by Tomas Venclova
Bloodaxe Books, 2008
Amazon

Stepan Simek for his translation from the Czech of Theremin by Petr Zelenka; Three Sisters 2002.CZ by Iva Volánková
Czech Plays: Seven New Works, CUNY Press, 2009
Amazon

2007

Susan Bernofsky for her translation from the German of The Assistant by Robert Walser
New Directions, 2007; Penguin Classics, 2008
Amazon

Wen Huang for his translation from the Chinese of Woman from Shanghai: Tales of Survival from a Chinese Labor Camp by Yang Xianhui
Anchor Books, 2010; Random House, 2010
Amazon | Indiebound

A Lone Room by Kyong-Sook
Published by Pegasus Books under the title The Girl Who Wrote Loneliness, September 2015
Amazon | Indiebound

Paul Olchváry for his translation from the Hungarian of The Ninth by Ferenc Barnás
Northwestern University Press, 2009
Amazon

Bill Porter for his translation from the Chinese of In Such Hard Times by Wei Ying-Wu
Copper Canyon Press, 2009
Amazon | Indiebound

Katherine Silver for her translation from the Spanish of Senselessness by Horacio Castellanos Moya
New Directions, 2008
Amazon | Indiebound

Alyson Waters for her translation from the French of A Splendid Conspiracy by Albert Cossery
New Directions, 2010
Amazon | Indiebound

2008

Bernard Adams for his translation from the Hungarian of Kornel Esti by Deszö Kosztolányi
New Directions, 2011
Amazon

Jeffrey Angles for his translation from the Japanese of Twelve Perspectives by Mutsuo Takahashi
University of Minnesota Press, 2012
Amazon

Sean Redmond for his translation from the Latin of Another Holy Land: Felix Fabri’s Voyage to Medieval Egypt by Felix Fabri
American University Press of Cairo, 2010

Mira Rosenthal for her translation from the Polish of Colonies by Tomasz Rózycki
Zephyr Press 2013
Amazon | Indiebound

Damion Searls for his translation from the Dutch of The Freeloader and Other Stories by Nescio
NYRB Classics, 2011
Amazon

Simon Wickham-Smith for his translation from the Mongolian of The Battle for Our Land Has Begun by Ochirbatyn Dashbalbar
Ulaanbatar, Mongolia: Dashbalbar Foundation, 2008

Jessica Moore for her translation from the French of Turkana Boy by Jean-François Beauchemin
Talon Books, 2011
Amazon | Indiebound

2009

Robyn Cresswell for her translation from the French of The Clash of Images by Abdelfattah Kilito
New Directions, 2010
Amazon | Indiebound

Geoffrey Michael Goshgarian for his translation from the Armenian of The Remnants by Hagop Oshagan
Gomidas Institute, 2013
Amazon

Tess Lewis for her translation from the German of Maybe This Time by Alois Hotschnig
Peirene Press, 2011
Amazon

Arvind Krishna Mehrotra for his translation from the Hindi of Songs of Kabir
NYRB Classics, 2011
Amazon | Indiebound

Frederika Randal for her translation from the Italian of Deliver Us from Evil by Luigi Meneghello
Northwestern University Press, 2011
Amazon

Chantal Wright for her translation from the German of A Handful of Water by Tzveta Sofronieva
White Wine Press, 2012
Amazon

2010

Alexander Dawe for his translation from the Turkish of The Time Regulation Institute by Ahmet Hamdi Tanpınar
Penguin Classics, 2014
Amazon | Indiebound

Piotr Gwiazda for his translation from the Polish of Kopenhaga by Grzegorz Wroblewski
Zephyr Press, 2013
Amazon | Indiebound

David Hull for his translation from the Chinese of Waverings by Mao Dun
Chinese University of Hong Kong, 2014

Bilal Tanweer for his translation from the Urdu of Love in Chakiwara (And Other Such Adventures) by Muhammad Khalid Akhtar
Forthcoming from Picador India, November 2016
Amazon

2011

Clarissa Botsford for her translation from the Italian of Sworn Virgin by Elvira Dones
And Other Stories, 2014
Amazon | Indiebound

Steve Bradbury for his translation from the Chinese of Salsa: A Collection of Poems by Hsia Yu
Zephyr Press, 2014
Amazon

Annmarie S. Drury for her translation from the Swahili of Stray Truths: A Collection of Poemsby Euphrase Kezilahabi
Michigan State University Press, November 2015
Amazon

Diane Nemec Ignasher for her translation from the Russian of Paranoia by Victor Martinovich
Northwestern University Press, 2013
Amazon

Chenxin Jiang for her translation from the Chinese of Memories of the Cowshed by Ji Xianlin
New York Review of Books, January 2016
Amazon 

Hilary B. Kaplan for her translation from the Portuguese of Rilke Shake by Angelica Freitas
Phoneme Books, February 2015
Amazon | Indiebound

Catherine Schelbert for her translation from the German of Flametti, or the Dandyism of the Poor by Hugo Ball
Wakefield Press, 2014
Amazon

Joel Streicker for his translation from the Spanish of Birds in the Mouth by Samanta Schweblin
Electric Literature, 2012
Amazon

2012

Alexander Booth for his translation from the German of in field latin (The German List) by Lutz Seiler
Seagull Books, May 2016
Amazon | Indiebound

Brent Edwards for his translation from the French of Phantom Africa by Michel Leiris
Forthcoming from Seagull Books, January 2017
Amazon | Indiebound

Musharraf Ali Farooqi for his translation from the Urdu of Hoshruba by Muhammad Husain Jah and Ahmed Husain Qamar
Urdu Project, 2009
Amazon

Deborah Garfinkle for her translation from the Czech of Worm-Eaten Time by Pavel Šrut 1968-1989
Phoneme Media, March 2016
Amazon | Indiebound

Bonnie Huie for her translation from the Chinese of Notes of a Crocodile by Qiu Miaojin
NYRB Classics, May 2017
Amazon Indiebound

Jacquelyn Pope for her translation from the Dutch of Hungerpots: Selected Poems by Hester Knibbe
Eyewear Publishing, October 2015
Amazon | Indiebound

Matt Reeck and Aftab Ahmad for their translation from the Urdu of Mirages of the Mind by Mushtaq Ahmad Yousufi
New Directions, July 2015
Amazon | Indiebound

Nathanaël (Nathalie Stephens) for her translation from the French of The Mausoleum of Lovers Journals, 1976-1991 by Hervé Guibert
Nightboat Books, 2014
Amazon

2013

Daniel Borzutzky for his translation from the Spanish of The Country of Planks by Raul Zurita
Action Books, April 2015
Amazon | Indiebound

Isabel Cole for her translation from the German of At the Burning Abyss by Franz Fühmann
Seagull Books, June 2017
Amazon  

Chloe Garcia Roberts for her translation from the Chinese of Escalating Derangements of My Contemporaries: Miscellanea by Li Shangyin
New Directions, 2014
Amazon

Edward Gauvin for his translation from the French of The Conductor and Other Tales by Jean Ferry
Wakefield Press, 2013
Amazon

Eleanor Goodman for her translation from the Chinese of Something Crosses My Mind: the Selected Poems of Wang Xiaoni
Zephyr Press, 2014
Amazon

Marilyn Hacker for her translation from the French of The Bridges of Budapest by Jean-Paul de Dadelsen
Forthcoming from Yale University Press/Margellos World Republic of Letters

Elizabeth Harris for her translation from the Italian of Tristano Dies by Antonio Tabucchi
Archipelago Books, November 2015
Amazon | Indiebound

Annie Tucker for her translation from the Indonesian of Beauty Is a Wound by Eka Kurniawan
New Directions, 2015
Amazon | Indiebound

Lara Vergnaud for her translation from the French of France, Story of Childhood by Zahia Rahmani
Yale University Press (The Margellos World Republic of Letters), May 2016

2014

Kurt Beals for his translation from the German of The Country Road by Regina Ullman
New Directions, January 2015
Amazon | Indiebound

Eric M. B. Becker for his translation from the Portuguese of Selected Stories by Mia Couto
Biblioasis under the title Rain and Other Stories, January 2017

Janet Hong for her translation from the Korean of The Impossible Fairytale by Han Yujoo
Graywolf Press, March 2017
Amazon | Indiebound

Paul Hoover for his translation from the Spanish of Nightmare Running on a Meadow of Absolute Light by María Baranda
Shearsman Books, April 2017
Amazon 

Andrea G. Labinger for her translation from the Spanish of Gesell Dome by Guillermo Saccomanno
Open Letter Books, August 2016
Amazon | Indiebound

Philip Metres and Dimitri Psurtsev for their translation from the Russian of I Burned at the Feast: Selected Poems of Arseny Tarkovsky
Cleveland State University Poetry Center, April 2015
Amazon

Benjamin Paloff for his translation from the Czech of The Game for Real by Richard Weiner
Two Lines Press, May 2015
Amazon | Indiebound

Miranda Richmond Mouillot for her translation from the French of The Kites by Romain Gary

Sholeh Wolpe for her translation from the Persian of The Conference of Birds by Farid ud-Din Attar
W.W. Norton, Winter 2017

2015

Allison Charette for her translation from the French of Beyond the Rice Fields by Naivo
Restless Books, 2017

Stephan Delbos and Tereza Novická for their translation from the Czech of The Absolute Gravedigger by Vítězslav Nezval
Twisted Spoon Press, 2016
Amazon

Lee Klein for his translation from the Spanish of Revulsion: Thomas Bernhard in San Salvadorby Horacio Castellanos Moya
New Directions, July 2016
Amazon | Indiebound

Meg Matich for her translation from the Icelandic of Cold Moons by Magnús Sigurðsson
Phoneme Media, January 2017
Amazon | Indiebound

Rajiv Mohabir for his translation from the Awadhi of Holi Songs of Demerara by Lalbihari Sharma
Kaya Press, 2018

Simon Wickhamsmith for his translation from the Mongolian of The End of the Dark Eraby Tseveendorjin Oidov
Phoneme Media, September 2016
Amazon | Indiebound

2016

Gabriel Amor for his translation from the Spanish of Juana I by Ana Arzoumanian
Forthcoming from Kenning Editions 

Ellen Cassedy for her translation from the Yiddish of On the Landing: Stories by Yenta Mash
Forthcoming from Northern Illinois University Press, September 2018
Amazon

Kaiama L. Glover for her translation from the French of Hadriana in All My Dreams by René Depestre
Akashic Books, May 2017
Amazon | Indiebound

 

 

ELIGIBILITY AND SUBMISSION GUIDELINES

Applications for the current grant cycle are now closed. 

Who is Eligible
  • The PEN/Heim Translation Fund provides grants to support the translation of book-length works of fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, or drama that have not previously appeared in English in print or have appeared only in an outdated or otherwise flawed translation.
  • Works should be translations-in-progress, as the grant aims to provide support for completion.
  • There are no restrictions on the nationality or citizenship of the translator, but the works must be translated into English.
  • The Fund seeks to encourage translators to undertake projects they might not otherwise have had the means to attempt.
  • Works with multiple translators, literary criticism, and scholarly or technical texts do not qualify.
  • Translators who have previously been awarded grants by the Fund are ineligible to reapply for three years after the year in which they receive a grant.
  • Please note that projects that have been previously submitted and have not received a grant are unlikely to be reconsidered in a subsequent year. 
  • Projects may have up to two translators. 
  • Translators may only submit one project per year. 
How to Submit

To apply, you will need:

1. The application, with all items completed:

  • A one- to two-page, single-spaced statement outlining the work and describing its importance.
  • A biography and bibliography of the author, including information on translations of his or her work into other languages.
  • A CV of the translator, no longer than three pages.
  • If the book is not in the public domain and the project is not yet under contract, please include a photocopy of the copyright notice from the book published in its original language (the copyright notice is a line including the character ©, a date, and the name of the copyright holder, which appears as part of the front matter in every book), and a letter from the copyright holder stating that English-language rights to the book are available. A letter or copy of an email from the copyright holder is sufficient. 
  • If the translation is currently under contract with a publisher, please submit a copy of the contract.

2. A 10–12-page, single-spaced sample of the translation

3. The same passage in the original language (and, if the work has been previously translated, the same passage in the earlier version).

4. Please note that applicants are no longer asked to submit a hard copy form of their application. 

Please direct any questions to [email protected].

 

 

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