PEN Promotes

This fund is part of English PEN’s Writers in Translation programme

PEN Promotes has been promoting literature in translation since 2005 and is supported by Bloomberg. Each year, a dedicated committee of professionals selects between 8-10 books that are translated into English from a wide variety of foreign languages. We award grants to UK publishers to help promote, market and champion these titles. Our aim is to celebrate books of outstanding literary value, dedication to free speech and intercultural understanding, which have a clear link to the PEN charter.

Supported titles

You can view all of our award winning titles here.

PEN Promotes grants assist UK publishers with promoting and marketing the books they have contracted to publish in English translation. Up to £4000 will be available to support a title and funds will be allocated at the discretion of English PEN.

Supported titles are expected to print our badge of excellence (as above) on the front cover of the book and fully credit the programme inside. In association with the publisher, PEN devises a promotional strategy designed to increase public awareness of the title, and of translated literature in general.  Strategies vary according to the nature of the title in question, but possible options include:

  •  Incorporating the title into English PEN’s successful Events programme, Writers in Public
  • Running a dedicated event with bi-lingual readings from the book, and an introduction to the book from a prominent PEN member
  • Publishing extracts (both in English and the original language) on the English PEN website, information about which will be sent out to all English PEN members (currently c. 1200 people) and everyone who signs up to receive news about the programme
  • Securing a guaranteed print-run for the book
  • Meeting the costs of bringing the author and/or translator to the UK to take part in readings and other events
  • Generating feedback and reviews from UK readers through The Reading Agency’s Reading Groups for Everyone scheme


The grants are open to all UK publishers for works that are under contract to be translated into and published in English.  The programme will consider both fiction, non-fiction, poetry(including Children’s literature) .  All works submitted to the programme must adhere to PEN’s aims, and should either:

  • explore a freedom of expression or human rights issue
  • contribute in some way towards inter-cultural understanding through illuminating an aspect of another country or culture

Publishers are strongly advised to read the PEN charter before submitting works to the programme.  If you have any questions about the eligibility of the work, please contact us .

The Application Process

Publishers are asked to submit a sample translation of the work to the programme director, as well as supporting information about the work.  This material is assessed by the programme’s Steering Committee, which consists of prominent translators, publishers, writers and other industry professionals.  The committee meets twice-yearly to discuss material, and will choose one to four titles for the programme to support at each meeting.

Before applying, please  View our list of grant conditions.

To apply to the programme, please fill in the online PEN Promotes application form.Please e-mail your supporting documents, (6000 word sample translation, contract between the publisher and rights holder, contract between the publisher and translator and catalogue) to


We are now open for submissions.

To apply for this round of PEN Promotes funding, click here.

To join the mailing list for submission period notifications please contact

Submission Criteria

PEN Promotes grants are for up to £4000 per selected book; publishers may expect generally that a grant will be between £1500 and £2500. The amount of grant awarded is at English PEN’s discretion.

Grants are to be used for the promotion and marketing of the chosen title. The publisher’s promotion strategy forms part of this application form, and if successful the publisher will develop their strategy in collaboration with PEN. English PEN is willing to help in a number of ways to ensure the success of the promotional campaign, and asks for the following to be fulfilled as part of the campaign:

Two dedicated events to be arranged, at least one for the general public (with bilingual readings from the book), the other for a more specialised audience if this is appropriate. Please note: publishers are expected to budget for an interpreter at events if one is necessary. If the book’s translator is intended to carry out that role, their participation should also be budgeted for, either event by event or for the duration of the author’s visit.

The author and, if possible, the translator(s) to be brought to the UK to take part in events

Acknowledgement of PEN’s assistance to be printed on the book’s front cover (“Winner of an English PEN Award”), on the bibliographic page of every print run (“This book has been selected to receive financial assistance from English PEN’s Writers in Translation programme supported by Bloomberg”), and in all promotional material. Any press coverage of the book must mention English PEN’s Writers in Translation programme.

The translator’s name to be printed either on the front cover of the book or title page.

12 complimentary copies to be sent to Writers in Translation at English PEN, Free Word Centre, 60 Farringdon Road, London EC1R 3GA

Not more than 15% of the grant funds to be spent on entertainment. Publishers will be asked to submit a detailed budget, followed by a statement of expenditure accompanied by receipts for items costing more than £200. Publishers must also ensure that the chosen title is published within 18 months of PEN’s receipt of their application, and that the translator of the published work is the translator of the sample provided with their application

Payment of PEN Promotes grants will be made in two stages: half on receipt of an itemised budget and half on receipt of individual statements of expenditure following the author/translator visit to the UK. English PEN will require invoices in order to process payments.

Failure to comply with the terms of acceptance outlined above will result in the second half of the grant being withheld.

Supported by…
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