PEN Presents… How to apply

PEN Presents is open exclusively to translators, recognising their pivotal role in bringing work to new audiences and putting them in the driving seat of the acquisition process. There is one round of awards per year, and each round focusses on a different region of the world.

The award

PEN Presents offers six £250 awards per round, for a high-quality submission (completed application form and sample translation) of a book which has not yet been acquired for English-language publication.


PEN Presents is open to literary translators living in the UK (or able to get themselves to the UK for an event if selected).

English-language rights in the proposed book must be available and not already acquired by an Anglophone publisher. The author of the proposed book must not yet have had a complete work published in English (although extracts published in anthologies and magazines are acceptable).

Submissions will be considered by a panel of judges who will select the best six proposals based on literary quality (including of the sample), contribution to literary diversity and viability for an English-language audience. Submissions from languages which are translated and published less often into English are strongly encouraged.

For PEN Presents… East and South-east Asia, eligible countries are: China, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, Taiwan, Mongolia, Vietnam, Thailand, Burma, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, Cambodia, Laos, Brunei, Timor-Leste.

The application process

Works of any genre may be submitted. Each round opens with a public call-out for submissions from literary translators. The six finalists, chosen by an expert panel of judges, will be presented through various channels (including on English PEN’s website, by press release and in a dedicated catalogue at London Book Fair) as a list of exciting new titles for serious consideration by UK publishers. Additionally for PEN Presents… East and South-east Asia, the top six books and their translators will be featured in an issue of the Asia Literary Review magazine. English PEN is delighted to be collaborating with the Asia Literary Review, a leading literary magazine published three to four times a year, focussed on exceptional writing from and about Asia.

All six translators will compete for the Best Pitch by presenting their books live to an audience and a jury of publishing professionals chaired by Tilted Axis Press publisher Deborah Smith. This event will take place at London’s Free Word Centre on Thursday 8 June 2017. All six translators will win a PEN Presents award of £250.

When making a submission the translator must check that English-language rights for the proposed book are available and have permission from the rights holder to make the submission.

A sample translation of a maximum of 5000 words in Word format (or 20 poems) must be submitted together with an application form.

Further queries

Please write to Theodora Danek at

Documents to download

Call for submissions and application form

PPr partners