PEN America’s $10,000 Writing for Justice Fellowships will commission six writers — emerging or established — to create written works of lasting merit that illuminate critical issues related to mass incarceration and catalyze public debate.
The PEN America Writing for Justice Fellowship aims to harness the power of writers and writing in bearing witness to the societal consequences of mass incarceration by capturing and sharing the stories of incarcerated individuals, their families, communities, and the wider impact of the criminal justice system. Our goal is to catalyze a broad, sustained conversation about the dangers of over-incarceration, and the imperative to mobilize behind rational and humane policies. As an organization of writers dedicated to promoting free expression and informed discourse, PEN America is honored to have been entrusted by the Art for Justice Fund to engage the literary community in addressing this pressing societal issue.
Please read the following closely, as our application requirements have changed.
The Writing for Justice Fellowship is open-genre, and proposed projects may include—but are not limited to—fictional stories; works of literary or long-form journalism; theatrical scripts; memoirs; poetry collections; or multimedia projects. The most competitive applications will demonstrate how the proposed project will engage issues of reform, fuel public debate, crystallize concepts of reform, and facilitate the possibility of societal change. As part of our mission to stimulate discussion, emphasis will be placed on proposed projects that show strong promise for publication. Fellows must commit to contribute actively to bringing attention to their work and that of other Fellows. The Fellowship is open to writers at any stage of their career. Currently and formerly incarcerated writers are highly encouraged to apply, and special provisions will be made for incarcerated writers to participate through alternative methods.
Fellows will receive an honorarium of between $5,000-$10,000, based on scope of project. Modest expense budget requests up to $2,500 will be additionally considered. Fellows will be paired with a mentor to serve as a source of guidance for the project, and the cohort will convene in person twice during the course of the Fellowship. PEN America will draw on the Writing for Justice Advisory Committee, as well as its network of agents, editors, publishers, partner organizations and outlets in order to assist efforts for publication and dissemination of the work of the Fellows. Opportunities for sharing the created work through public forums will be organized in New York City at the PEN World Voices Festival, in the Fellow’s home community, and possibly additional locations.
The first eight months of the Fellowship are designed for Fellows to research, create, and connect with mentors and the cohort, working toward submission of a polished final product that is ready for publication. The final four months of the Fellowship will focus on placing the works for public dissemination and opportunities for Fellows to present their work publicly.
April 1, 2019: Application opens
May 15, 2019: Deadline to apply
Late September 2019: Applicants notified of final application status
September–May 2019: Fellows work on their projects, meet with mentors
October TBD 2019: Cohort meeting #1 (NYC)
February, TBD 2020: Cohort meeting #2 (Location TBD)
Early May 2020: PEN World Voices Festival event featuring works in progress
Late May 2020 Work completed and submitted for publication
May–August 2020: Placing work and local public presentations
To be eligible for this Fellowship, the applicant must be
- 21 years of age or older.
- An individual writer. Collaborative projects are acceptable, but only one project lead may apply and participate in the Fellowship’s activities.
- A United States resident.
- Available to participate actively in all dimensions of Fellowship programming, including mandatory gatherings and public programs. (The Fellowship will cover costs associated with these events, separately from the Fellowship honorarium and travel/research budget.) Currently incarcerated writers and formerly incarcerated writers restricted by parole will participate through alternative means.
- Able to demonstrate a track record of successful projects brought to completion on time.
Membership in PEN America is not required. Please see FAQs below for more information.
Selection Criteria and Process
Fellows will be selected on artistic merit, the project’s approach and potential for impact, and the feasibility of project to be fully completed and in polished, publishable form within the given time frame. Applications will be reviewed by PEN America and expert advisers through an anonymous process.
Applications close May 15, 2019. Fellows will be announced in fall 2019. All applicants will be notified at the appropriate time if their application was declined.
How To Apply
Closely review all required materials listed below. Please be mindful of the specific application requests. Failure to follow instructions carefully will result in immediate disqualification. Late applications will not be accepted. We suggest you submit early to avoid technical issues.
There is no fee to apply to the Writing for Justice Fellowship.
All non-incarcerated applicants are required to submit online through Submittable.
Currently incarcerated writers can submit by sending application materials (preferably typed, but clean, legible handwritten applications will also be accepted) to the address below:
Writing For Justice Fellowship
588 Broadway, Suite 303
New York, NY 10012
Currently incarcerated writers should follow formatting to the best of their ability, and estimate word count as closely as possible. We will not disqualify applications for being reasonably over count.
Please see FAQs on our website for further information.
The PEN/Heim Translation Fund was established in the summer of 2003 by a gift of $730,000 from Priscilla and Michael Henry Heim in response to the dismayingly low number of literary translations currently appearing in English. Its purpose is to promote the publication and reception of translated world literature in English.
Since the Fund's inception in 2004, the Fund has given grants of $2,000–$10,000 to a total of 139 translations from over 35 languages, including Armenian, Basque, Estonian, Farsi, Finland-Swedish, Lithuanian and Mongolian, as well as French, Spanish, German, Russian, Chinese, Japanese, and Arabic. Among the 108 projects awarded grants in the Fund’s first 10 years of operation (2004–2013), 72 of those (roughly 67%) have thus far been published or are forthcoming from a publisher.
Deadline: Submissions will be accepted from April 1, 2019 through June 1, 2019.
Who is eligible:
- The PEN/Heim Translation Fund provides grants to support the translation of book-length works of fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, or drama that have not previously appeared in English in print or have appeared only in an outdated or otherwise flawed translation.
- Works should be translations-in-progress, as the grant aims to provide support for completion.
- There are no restrictions on the nationality or citizenship of the translator, but the works must be translated into English.
- The Fund seeks to encourage translators to undertake projects they might not otherwise have had the means to attempt.
- Anthologies with multiple translators, works of literary criticism, and scholarly or technical texts do not qualify.
- As of 2008, translators who have previously been awarded grants by the Fund are ineligible to reapply for three years after the year in which they receive a grant.
- Please note that projects that have been previously submitted and have not received a grant are unlikely to be reconsidered in a subsequent year.
- Projects may have up to two translators.
- Translators may only submit one project per year.
How to apply:
Please note that this year, hard copy versions are NOT required. The application process is entirely online.
Translators must complete the below applications form by midnight EST June 1, 2019. The below application will require the following materials:
1. The application form, with all items completed:
- A one- to two-page, single-spaced statement outlining the work and describing its importance.
- A biography and bibliography of the author, including information on translations of his or her work into other languages.
- A CV of the translator, no longer than three pages.
- If the book is not in the public domain and the project is not yet under contract, please include a photocopy of the copyright notice on the original (the copyright notice is a line including the character ©, a date, and the name of the copyright holder, which appears as part of the front matter in every book), and a letter from the copyright holder stating that English-language rights to the book are available. A letter or copy of an email from the copyright holder is sufficient.
- If the translation is currently under contract with a publisher, please submit a copy of the contract.
2. A 10–12-page, single-spaced sample of the translation.
3. The same passage in the original language (and, if the work has been previously translated, the same passage in the earlier version).
For more information, please contact awards[at]pen.org
The PEN America Emerging Voices Fellowship (EV) is a literary mentorship that aims to provide new writers who are isolated from the literary establishment with the tools, skills, and knowledge they need to launch a professional writing career.
While Emerging Voices encourages applications from writers living all over the country, this rigorous fellowship is based in Los Angeles. Weekly meetings combine with an intense reading and writing schedule. If you are not a resident of Los Angeles, and you are awarded the fellowship you will need to relocate for the seven month period, from January to July of 2020. Housing is not provided.
Components of the Emerging Voices Fellowship Include:
- Guidance from a professional mentor, chosen from a curated list of authors.
- Private Author Evenings with writers, agents, editors and publishers.
- Genre-specific master classes.
- UCLA Extension Writers' Program classes.
- Submissions, social media and marketing, and personal essay workshops.
- A professional voice instruction class and recording session.
- A volunteer opportunity.
- Professional author photos and bio.
- Three public readings in Los Angeles.
- A $1,000 stipend.
People ineligible for the Emerging Voices Fellowship:
- Those who have a B.A., M.A., M.F.A., or Ph.D. in Creative Writing.
- Students currently enrolled in undergraduate or graduate degree programs.
- Writers who have published one or more books through major publishing houses, university presses, or established presses.
- Current professional magazine and or newspaper feature writers or editors.
- Writers who are widely published in top-tier literary journals and/or magazines.
- Anyone under the age of 21.
Applications Must Include:
- Completed short answers.
- A professional CV or résumé. Please list any writing experience, education, and publishing credits.
- Two current letters of recommendation written by people who are either familiar with your writing, or can attest to your ability to complete a long term project. Letters must include the recommender's current e-mail address and phone number. Recommenders are not notified until the completed application is submitted. It is the applicant's responsibility to ensure that the two letters are uploaded on August 1, 2019, by 11:59 PM Pacific Standard Time. (If you are waiting until the last minute to apply, be sure to notify your recommenders ahead of time so that their letters are ready to upload.)
- A writing sample of up to 20 pages of double-spaced fiction or creative nonfiction, or 10 pages of single-spaced poetry. This sample should be relevant to the project you are proposing in the short answer section of your Emerging Voices Fellowship Application. Writing samples that exceed this page count will be disqualified.
Writing Samples Must:
- Include full name and e-mail address on each page.
- Be typed, double-spaced and paginated in 12-point Times New Roman font.
- Uploaded as an attachment.
- Not be longer than the required page count. (See above.)
- Finalists will be notified in November and will be required to interview in person with the selection committee in Los Angeles. The list of selected fellows will be posted on the PEN America website following interviews. Application Deadline: August 1, 2019 at 11:59 PM Pacific Standard Time.
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 PEN/Phyllis Naylor Working Writer Fellowship is a $5,000 award offered annually to an author of children's or young-adult fiction. It has been developed to help writers whose work is of high literary caliber and is designed to assist a writer at a crucial moment in his or her career to complete a book-length work-in-progress.
Deadline: Submissions will be accepted from April 1, 2019 through August 15, 2019.
Who Is Eligible:
- Candidates must have published one or more novels for children or young adults that have been warmly received by literary critics, but have not generated sufficient income to support the author.
- The writer's previous book(s) must be published by a U.S. trade publisher (not self-published).
- The submitted work must be fiction and a work-in-progress (not published). Graphic novels and picture books are not accepted.
- Judges will be looking for candidates whose work has not yet attracted a broad readership, and who has not had financial success.
How to Apply or Nominate:
Please note that the application process is now entirely online. Hard copy applications will no longer be accepted. Writers may nominate themselves or a fellow writer. To apply, please submit the following materials:
1) Cover letter: A 1-2 page letter describing in some detail how the candidate meets the criteria for the Fellowship, including a list of their previously published novel(s) for children or young adults.
2) Three professional reviews: Copies of or links to at least three reviews of their novel(s) from professional publications.
3) Letter of recommendation: A 1-2 page letter of support written by an editor or fellow writer.
4) Project outline: A brief (2-4 page) outline of the current novel in progress. The writers' name should not appear anywhere on the outline in order to ensure anonymity for the judging process.
5) Manuscript sample: 50–75 pages of the work-in-progress. Graphic novels and picture books are not eligible. The writers' name should not appear anywhere on the manuscript in order to ensure anonymity for the judging process.
6) Letter of Utility: A brief description (roughly 1 page in length) of candidate's book sales and earnings, and how the fellowship will aid in completing the work in progress.
The PEN/Jean Stein Grant for Literary Oral History recognizes a literary work of nonfiction that uses oral history to illuminate an event, individual, place, or movement. The winner will receive a $10,000 grant to help maintain or complete his or her ongoing project.
Deadline: Submissions will be accepted from April 1, 2019 through June 1, 2019.
Who Is Eligible:
- The submitted project must be the work of a single individual, writing in English.
- The project must be an unpublished work-in-progress.
- The project must be a work of literary nonfiction (scholarly/academic writing is not eligible).
- Oral history must be a significant component of the project and its research.
How to apply:
Please submit your application below. Please note that the application will require:
- A 1-2 page, single-spaced description of the work, its importance, and why the author chose to undertake this project.
- A 1-2 page, single-spaced statement explaining why and how oral history was used in the project. This space can additionally be used to discuss any permissions, rights, or other aspects of your project.
- A 300-500 word statement explaining how a grant would aid in the completion of the project.
- A CV for the author of the project, which should include information on any previous publications.
- An outline that includes the work completed thus far and the work remaining. The outline should include the names of all participants.
- Transcripts of the project interviews (6-10 pages).
- A writing sample from the project (20-40 pages).