PEN America Literary Awards PEN Translation Prize



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


2019 Finalists

2019 Finalists for the PEN Translation Prize

Featured Honoree: Martin Aitken, 2019 Winner

LOVE by Hanne Ørstavik

Martin Aitken

Love by Hanne Ørstavik (Archipelago Books)
translated from the Norwegian by Martin Aitken

Hudson Booksellers | IndieBound

Judges: Ezra Fitz, Barbara Harshav, Vincent Kling, Marian Schwartz, Ron Slate

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.”



Previous Winners

(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

2018 Len Rix, Katalin Street by Magda Szabo (NYRB Classics), translated from the Hungarian

2017 Tess Lewis, Angel of Oblivion by Maja Haderlap (Archipelago Books), translated from the German

2016 Katrina Dodson, The Complete Stories by Clarice Lispector (New Directions), translated from the Portuguese

2015 Denise Newman, Baboon by Naja Marie Aidt (Two Lines Press), translated from the Danish

2014 Joanne Turnbull & Nikolai Formozov, Autobiography of a Corpse by Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky (New York Review Books), translated from the Russian

2013 Donald O. White, The Island of Second Sight by Albert Vigoleis (Overlook Press), translated from the German

2012 Bill Johnston, Stone upon Stone by Wieslaw Mysliwski (Archipelago Books), translated from the Polish

2011 Ibrahim Muhawi, Journal of an Ordinary Grief by Mahmoud Darwish (Archipelago Books), translated from the Arabic

2010 Michael Henry Heim, Wonder by Hugo Claus (Archipelago), translated from the Dutch

2009 Natasha Wimmer, 2666 by Roberto Bolaño (FSG), translated from the Spanish

2008 Margaret Jull Costa, The Maias by Jose Maria Eca de Queiros (New Directions), translated from the Portuguese

2007 Sandra Smith, Suite Française by Irène Némirovsky (Knopf), translated from the French

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 2020 awards cycle are now closed. Please note that book submissions were not considered unless officially submitted via the online form AND received at the PEN America New York office with the corresponding Declaration of Eligibility.

Who is Eligible


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.

NOT Eligible:

  • Poetry
  • Self-published books
  • Reprints
  • 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
How to Submit
  • 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
PEN America
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.