Our Writers in Translation programme supports international literature and literary translation through grants, digital platforms and events.

The programme reflects the PEN Charter’s declaration that ‘literature […] knows no frontiers, and should remain a common currency between nations’ ; the movement of literature across national and linguistic borders is fundamental to both English PEN’s mission and cultural vitality in the UK.

PEN Translates, our grants programme, awards books of merit and courage, helping publishers to bring out translated literature and ensure translators are paid properly for their work. Award-winning books are featured on the World Bookshelf, an online collection of the best literature in translation. PEN Transmissions, our online magazine for international writers, conveys essays and interviews  from both emerging and established voices across the world. We also run a programme of events across the year, including International Translation Day, the largest coming-together for the UK translation community.


The programme is run by the International and Translation Manager. They are advised by the Writers in Translation Committee, a group of writers, translators, scouts, agents, editors, journalists and booksellers. The Committee currently comprises:

Sarah Ardizzone (translator)
Ros Schwartz (translator)
Alev Adil (writer)
Jonathan Ruppin (agent, Ruppin Agency)
Laura Macaulay (editor, Pushkin Press)
Lynn Gaspard (publisher, Saqi)
Pete Ayrton (publisher, Small Axe)
Rachel Van Riel (director, Opening the Book)
Rebecca Carter (agent, Janklow & Nesbit)
Rebecca Servadio (scout, London Literary Scouting)
Samantha Schnee (translator)
Toby Lichtig (fiction editor, TLS)
Zain Mahmood (bookseller, Waterstones)


We support publishers and translators who want to reach an English-speaking audience with a financial grant.

  • PEN Translates awards grants to UK publishers and ensures translators are paid a fair wage for their work.


Our online platforms bring international and translated voices to wide audiences.

  • PEN Transmissions is our online magazine of personal essays and interviews with international voices. Subscribe here and never miss an issue.
  • We feature all of our PEN Translates award-winners on the World Bookshelf, an online collection of the best contemporary literature in translation.


We run a series of events with writers from around the world, and manage programmes to raise awareness of translated literature.

  • We programme events throughout the year featuring international writers and translators. Find out more about our events here.
  • We mark International Translation Day with an annual event at the end of September.
  • In partnership with the London Book Fair, we programme the Literary Translation Centre at the Fair each year.

English PEN’s Writers in Translation programme was established in 2005 with support from Bloomberg and is supported by Arts Council England. English PEN is the founding centre for the worldwide PEN movement, which in 2015 adopted the Quebec Declaration on Literary Translation and Translators, a vital set of principles which all PEN centres have committed to uphold in our work.