The PEN Translation Prize invites submissions of book-length translations from any language into English published during the current calendar year. The award confers a $3,000 prize on the author of the winning book.
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 the PEN America award seal, please write to [email protected].
Current Cycle: 2020
Honoring books published in 2019.
Submissions: June 1, 2019 – August 15, 2019
Longlists Announced: December 2019
Shortlists Announced: January 2020
Awards Ceremony: March 2020
Featured Honoree: Martin Aitken, 2019 Winner
From the judges’ citation: “The judges are proud to honor Martin Aitken for his luminous translation of Hanne Ørstavik’s haunting novel Love, which follows the distant, orbiting lives of a mother and son like a telescope through one cold winter’s night. In a mere 125 pages, Ørstavik distills a tremendous sense of emptiness, loneliness, and yearning from Vibeke and her son Jon, and in Aitken’s elegant translation, the prose crackles like the icy environs of Norway itself. Ørstavik’s narrative shifts without warning between the voices and visions of her two protagonists, and the finesse of Aitken’s focus allows these transitions to take place with equal parts artistry and subtlety. What we have, in the end, with Love, is an extraordinary translation of an uncannily singular novel, one which the judges will be savoring for many years to come.”
(This award was formerly named the PEN/Book-of-the-Month Club Translation Prize.)
2019 Martin Aitken, Love by Hanne Ørstavik (Archipelago Books), translated from the Norwegian
2006 Philip Gabriel, Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami (Knopf), translated from the Japanese
2005 Tim Wilkinson, Fatelessness by Imre Kertesz (Vintage), translated from the Hungarian
2004 Margaret Sayers Peden, Sepharad by Antonio Muñoz Molina (Mariner), translated from the Spanish
2003 R.W. Flint, The Moon and the Bonfires by Cesare Pavese (New York Review of Books), translated from the Italian
2002 Richard Pevear & Larissa Volokhonsky, Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy (Viking), translated from the Russian
2001 Tiina Nunnally, Kristin Lavransdatter III: The Cross by Sigrid Undset (Penguin), translated from the Norwegian
2000 Richard Sieburth, Selected Writings by Gerard De Nerval (Penguin), translated from the French
1999 Michael Hofmann, The Tale of the 1002nd Night by Joseph Roth (St. Martin’s), translated from the German
1998 Peter Constantine, Six Early Stories by Thomas Mann (Sun & Moon), translated from the German
1997 Arnold Pomerans, The Letters of Vincent Van Gogh (Viking), translated from the Dutch
1996 Stanislaw Baranczak & Clare Cavanagh, View With a Grain of Sand by Wislawa Szymborska (Harcourt), translated from the Polish
1995 Burton Watson, Selected Poems of Su Tung–p’o (Copper Canyon), translated from the Chinese
1994 Bill Zavatsky & Zack Rogow, Earthlight by André Breton (Sun & Moon), translated from the French
1993 Thomas Hoisington, The Adventures of Mr. Nicholas Wisdom by Ignacy Krasicki (Northwestern University Press), translated from the Polish
1992 David Rosenberg, The Poet’s Bible (Hyperion), from the Hebrew
1991 Richard Pevear & Larissa Volokhonsky, The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky (North Point Press), translated from the Russian
1990 William Weaver, Foucault’s Pendulum by Umberto Eco (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich), translated from the Italian
1989 Matthew Ward, The Stranger by Albert Camus (Random House), translated from the French
1988 Madeline Levine & Francine Prose, A Scrap of Time by Ida Fink (Pantheon), translated from the Polish
1987 John E. Woods, Perfume: The Story of a Murderer by Patrick Suskind (Knopf), translated from the German
1986 Prose: Barbara Bray, The Lover by Marguerite Duras (Pantheon), translated from the French
Poetry: Dennis Tedlock, Popol Vuh: The Mayan Book of the Dawn of Life by Dennis Tedlock (Simon and Schuster), translated from the K’iche’
1985 Prose: Helen R. Lane, The War at the End of the World by Mario Vargas Llosa (Farrar, Straus & Giroux), translated from the Spanish
Poetry: Seamus Heaney, Sweeney Astray by Seamus Heaney (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
1984 William Weaver, The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich), translated from the Italian
1983 Richard Wilbur, Four Comedies: The Misanthrope, Tartuffe, The Learned Ladies, The School for Wives by Molière Jean Baptiste Poquelin De Moliere (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich), translated from the French
1982 Hiroaki Sato & Burton Watson, From the Country of Eight Islands: An Anthology of Japanese Poetry (Anchor Press/University of Washington Press), translated from the Japanese
1981 John E. Woods, Evening Edged in Gold by Arno Schmidt (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich), translated from the German
1980 Charles Simic, Homage to the Lame Wolf by Vasko Popa (Oberlin College/Field Translation Series), translated from the Serbian
1979 Charles Wright, The Storm and other poems by Eugenio Montale (Oberlin College/Field Translation Series), translated from the Italian
1978 Adrienne Foulke, One Way or Another by Leonardo Sciascia (Harper & Row), translated from the Italian
1977 Gregory Rabassa, Autumn of the Patriarch by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (Harper & Row), translated from the Spanish
1976 Richard Howard, A Short History of Decay by E. M. Cioran (Viking Press), translated from the French
1975 Helen R. Lane, Count Julian by Juan Goytisolo (Viking Press/Richard Seaver Books), translated from the Spanish
1974 Hardie St. Martin & Leonard Mades, The Obscene Bird of Night by Jose Donoso (Knopf), translated from the Spanish
1973 J. P. McCullough, The Poems of Sextus Propertius by Propertius (University of California Press), translated from the Latin
1972 Richard & Clara Winston, Letters of Thomas Mann by Thomas Mann (Knopf), translated from the German
1971 Max Hayward, Hope Against Hope by Nadezhda Mandelstam (Atheneum), translated from the Russian
1970 Sidney Alexander, The History of Italy by Francesco Guicciardini (Macmillan), translated from the Italian
1969 W. S. Merwin, Selected Translations 1948-1968 (Atheneum), translated from various languages
1968 Vladimir Markov & Merrill Sparks, editors Modern Russian Poetry (Bobbs–Merrill), translated from the Russian
1967 Harriet de Onis, Sagarana by J. Guimaraes Rosa (Knopf), translated from the Portuguese
1966 Geoffrey Skelton & Adrian Mitchell, Marat\Sade by Peter Weiss (Atheneum), translated from the German
1965 Joseph Barnes, The Story of a Life by Konstantin Paustovsky (Pantheon), translated from the Russian
1964 Ralph Manheim, The Tin Drum by Gunter Grass (Pantheon), translated from the German
1963 Archibald Colquhoun, The Viceroys by Federico de Roberto (Harcourt Brace), translated from the Italian
Submissions for the 2021 cycle will be open June 1, 2020 — August 15, 2020.
- Eligible titles must be original book-length literary and translations of prose, published between January 1, 2019, and December 31, 2019, by a U.S. trade publisher.
- Translators may be of any nationality; U.S. residency or citizenship is not required.
- Although all eligible books must have been published in the United States, There are no restrictions on the subject matter of translated works, although eligible titles should be of a literary character.
- Books must have one or two translators at most.
- If you submit a book for this award, you may not submit it for any additional PEN America Literary Award, with the exception of the PEN Open Book Award. Please note that the PEN/Faulkner is not considered a PEN America Literary Award.
- Self-published books
- Retranslations, unless the work can be said to provide a significant revision of the original translation.
- Technical, scientific, or bibliographic translations
- Books with more than two translators
- PEN America will only accept submissions from publishers or literary agents; authors and translators may not submit their own book for this award.
- 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 form along with the rest of your application here.
- Each submission is $85.* If you would like to pay by check, please click CHECK at checkout. Checks should be made out to PEN America. Please also submit a verified email address on the submission form; 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 below address during the open submission period.
PEN Translation Prize
588 Broadway, Suite 303
New York, NY 10012
- Once the submitted book is received and reviewed for eligibility, [email protected] requests a copy to be shipped to the judges.
* Submission fees may be waived for publishers whose annual net sales are less than $2 million. In order to have your fees waived, please have a company official write a letter on company letterhead stating that your press’s 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 checkout in order to have your submission fees waived. One fee waiver may be used for all 2020 PEN America Awards; you do not need to submit a separate fee waiver for each award.