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The PEN/Bare Life Review Grants recognize literary works by immigrant and refugee writers. For the 2025 grant cycle, we will confer two PEN/Bare Life Review Grants with cash prizes of $5,000 each. 

Deadline: Submissions will be accepted from June 1 through August 1, 2024. Submissions will close at 11:59 p.m. (EST, end of day) on August1.


  • The submitted project must be the work of a single individual, written in or translated into English. In the case of translated works, the grant will be conferred to the original author.
  • The project must be an unpublished work-in-progress that will not be published prior to April 1, 2025, as the grants are intended to support the completion of a manuscript.
  • The project must be a work of a literary nature: fiction, creative nonfiction, or poetry.
  • This grant is available to foreign-born writers based in the U.S., and to writers living abroad who hold refugee/asylum seeker status.
  • Writers may only submit one project per year.

NOT eligible: Scholarly or academic writing.

How to apply: Please note that the application will require the following, submitted as one PDF file, in the below order.

All documents should be in 12pt, Times New Roman, with 1-inch margins. Each document should be single-spaced with the exception of the writing sample which should be double-spaced.

  • A 1-2 page description of the work, answering: Why is this project important, and why did this author choose to undertake this project?
  • A 1-2 page statement answering: How will this grant aid in the completion of the project? (This space can additionally be used to discuss any permissions, rights, contracts, publication timelines, or other aspects of your project.)
  • A CV for the author of the project, which should include information on previous or forthcoming publications.
  • An outline that includes the work completed thus far and the work remaining.
  • A writing sample of up to 40 pages for poetry, and 75 pages for other genres. This, exceptionally, should be double spaced for legibility.

Please consult our FAQ page before contacting awards@pen.org with any questions.

We use Submittable to accept and review our submissions.