Ends on

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 15, 2020 through November 15, 2020. 


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 2020.
  • 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.
  • 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.
We use Submittable to accept and review our submissions.