The PEN/Robert J. Dau Short Story Prize for Emerging Writers recognizes twelve emerging writers each year for their debut short story published in a literary magazine, journal, or cultural website, and aims to support the launch of their careers as fiction writers.

Each of the twelve winning writers receives a cash prize of $2,000 and the independent book publisher Catapult will publish the twelve winning stories in an annual anthology entitled Best Debut Short Stories: The PEN America Dau Prize, which will acknowledge the literary magazines and websites where the stories were originally published.

Submissions will be accepted from June 1, 2022 through November 1, 2022.

Who is Eligible:  

  • Stories must be submitted by editors of literary magazines, journals, or cultural websites and published in the English language. Publications may be based and/or distributed anywhere in the world, so long as the story submitted was originally written in and published in English. Authors may not submit their own work.
  • Participating publications include literary magazines, journals, or cultural websites published on a recurring schedule.
  • Stories must have been published or forthcoming in 2022.
  • Editors from eligible publications may only submit a writer’s debut short story. “Debut” is defined as the writer’s absolute first fiction publication in any language, which has undergone an editorial review process and been accepted and published in a literary outlet that the author is not academically or professionally associated with. Translations are ineligible. Writers who have published one or more books which have undergone editorial review are ineligible.
  • Editors from eligible publications may submit up to four eligible stories from debut authors in a given award year. Stories may not exceed 12,000 words in length.
  • Submitted story files should not include the journal name or other identifying information.
  • Both the editor and debut author must agree to and sign the award’s declaration of eligibility and consent, which outlines serial rights for Catapult’s forthcoming anthology, and upload all application materials and submit online via Submittable.
  • There are no restrictions on the candidate’s age or on the style of work.


PEN America’s Emerging Voices Fellowship will select 12 emerging writers for a five-month mentorship program.

The Emerging Voices Fellowship provides a virtual five-month immersive mentorship program for early-career writers from communities that are traditionally underrepresented in the publishing world. The program is committed to cultivating the careers of Black writers, and serves writers who identify as Indigenous, persons of color, LGBTQ+, immigrants, writers with disabilities, and those living outside of urban centers. Through curated one-on-one mentorship and introductions to editors, agents, and publishers, in addition to workshops on editing, marketing, and creating a platform, the five-month fellowship nurtures creative community, provides a professional skill-set, and demystifies the path to publication—with the ultimate goal of diversifying the publishing and media industries. Twelve fellows will be chosen in 2022, each awarded an honorarium of $1,500.


Guidelines:
Please read the following closely, as our application requirements have changed and aspects of our program have been adjusted for 2022. Learn more information on benefits and components of the program: https://pen.org/emerging-voices-fellowship/.


Fellowship Timeline:
The five months of the fellowship are designed for fellows to connect with mentors and the cohort and refine their writing project while learning new skills and building relationships with publishing industry instructors, PEN America staff, and the literary community.


January            2022 Emerging Voices Fellowship Application period
May                  Fellows announced
June-October   2022 Emerging Voices Fellowship period


Eligibility

  • Applicants must be 21 years of age or older at time of application.
  • Applicants do not need to be a U.S. permanent resident and/or citizen but must be residing in the United States at the time of applying for, and during the duration of, the fellowship.
  • Applicants must be available to participate actively in all dimensions of fellowship programming, including mandatory virtual workshops, virtual gatherings and virtual public programs.
  • Applicants cannot be enrolled in a degree-granting program at the time of the fellowship's start date (June 2022).
  • Applicants cannot be a recipient of an advanced degree in fiction, creative nonfiction, or poetry.
  • Applicants cannot have one or more books published through major or independent publishers, university presses, or established presses, nor have a book under contract to a publisher at the time of application. Chapbooks or work published in literary journals are acceptable.
  • Former Emerging Voices Fellows are not eligible to reapply.


Selection Criteria and Process:


Given the highly competitive nature of the selection process for this fellowship, we advise using care in your project application. Though the application will be assessed as a whole, fellows will be selected primarily based on the strength of the writing sample by a committee of established writers and publishing professionals, former fellows, and PEN America staff. We encourage you to submit writing that best showcases your work.


Closely review all required materials listed below. Please be mindful of the specific application requests. Failure to follow instructions carefully will result in disqualification. Late applications will not be accepted, without exception. We suggest you submit early to avoid technical issues. Applicants may only submit in one genre to the 2022 fellowship.


The selection decisions of PEN America will be final and not subject to review. We regret that due to the volume of applications, we will not be able to provide any individualized feedback at any point during or after the application process. General questions about the application process sent to ev@pen.org will be answered at the discretion of PEN America.


Applications close at 11:59pm ET on January 31, 2022. Fellows will be announced in May.


PEN America does not discriminate based upon age, color, national origin, physical or mental disability, race, religion, creed, gender, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and/or expression, marital status, status with regard to public assistance, status as a veteran, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state or local law.

The U.S. Writers Aid Initiative is intended to assist fiction and nonfiction authors, poets, playwrights, screenwriters, translators, and journalists in addressing short-term financial emergencies. To be eligible, applicants must be professional writers based in the United States, and be able to demonstrate that this one-time grant will be meaningful in helping address a short-term emergency situation. The fund is limited, and not every application can be supported. Grant decisions are made on a quarterly basis by a volunteer committee of literary peers in consultation with PEN America staff, using the  following guidelines to evaluate professional credentials:

  • Publication of one or more books. (Writers who are only self-published or published by a press that charges for publication are not eligible.)
  • Multiple essays, short stories, or poems appearing in literary anthologies or literary journals (either online or in print) in the last two years.
  • A full-length play, performed in a theater by a professional theater company. Productions in academic settings qualify if the author is not a student at the time of the production.
  • Production of a motion picture project or a segment of television.
  • Employment as a full-time professional journalist, columnist, or critic, or a record of consistent publication on a freelance basis in a range of outlets during the last two years.
  • Contracted forthcoming books, essays, short stories, poems, or articles for which the name of the publisher can be provided.
  • Other qualifications that support the applicant’s professional identity as a writer.

The U.S. Writers Aid Initiative is not intended to subsidize writing-related expenses, such as residencies, sabbaticals, computers, printing, shipping, travel, or publicity services.  Applications received on or before the following quarterly deadlines will be reviewed before the last day of that month. (For example, an application received on or before January 1, 2023 will be reviewed before January 30, 2023.)

Application deadlines for 2023, subject to change:

  • January 1, 2023
  • April 1, 2023
  • July 1, 2023
  • October 1, 2023

Writers currently enrolled in degree-granting programs are also not eligible. Writers do not have to be Members of PEN America to receive a grant, but all recipients of emergency funding will be given a complimentary one-year PEN America membership.

Please review all eligibility criteria before applying. We encourage applicants to be specific and thorough in presenting their case for support so that a proper evaluation of the application can be made. All complete applications will be reviewed, and all applicants will be notified of a grant decision. Not all applications will be supported, and the Committee’s decision is final. 


Questions may be addressed to writersfund@pen.org.  

PEN America