Home Page > New Voices Award


nvThe winner of the 2016 PEN International/New Voices Award will be announced on 28 September during the 82nd PEN Congress in Ourense, Galicia. 


The PEN International/New Voices Award encourages new writing in the countries in which we operate, and provides a much needed space for young and unpublished writers to promote their work. The award actively encourages entries from diverse linguistic regions and communities.

Before PEN International was established in 1921 its founder, C. A. Dawson Scott, set up the Tomorrow Club as a space for aspiring writers to network with established authors; in 1928 Herman Ould, International Secretary, felt strongly that it was important for PEN to maintain focus on helping emerging writers, and so established the first ‘Young PEN’ chapter.

The PEN International/New Voices Award builds on these ideas, simultaneously reconnecting with our past and moving into the future. The award is open to unpublished writers aged 18-30. The young writers must be nominated by their local PEN Centre: PEN International cannot receive entries directly from candidates.

We would like to thank all the writers who entered the competition; the PEN Centres who nominated them; the translators; and of course the panel of six judges for their hard work.

SHORTLIST 2016 (click on the texts to read them):

Viertel-Neger by Julian Amankwaa (nominated by German PEN). Translated by Stefanie Retterbush, Mathilde Sommain and Erik Arellana Bautista

Manifesto by Ioana Vintila (nominated by Romanian PEN). Translated by Ioana Poenaru & James Christian Brown

Dress, Rehearse by Laura Legge (nominated by PEN Canada)

Longlisted Candidates:

‘Please Help, God Bless’ by Frederick J. Botha (nominated by PEN Afrikaans). Translated by Marta Behar & Marius Swart

‘In the Hearts of Green Birds’ by Robin Ganderton (nominated by Wales PEN Cymru)

‘The Rat, and other poems’ by Stefan Kielbasiewicz (nominated by English PEN)



2015 Winner: Rebecca F. John (Wales PEN Cymru)
2015 Runners-up: Lea Sauer (German PEN), Sophie Prévost (PEN Québec).
Click here for more information on the PEN International/New Voices Award 2015

2014 Winner: Marina Babanskaya (St Petersburg PEN Chapter)
2014 Runners-up: Kasim Bazil (Central Asian PEN), Amalia Cernat (Romanian PEN)
Click here for more information on the PEN International/New Voices Award 2014

2013 Winner: Masande Ntshanga (South African PEN)
2013 Runners-up: José Pablo Salas (PEN Mexico), Claire Battershill (PEN Canada)
Click here for more information on the PEN International/New Voices Award 2013










PEN International/New Voices Award jury 2016


gfdh Mircea Cărtărescu was born on 1 June 1956 in Bucharest. He is a writer, a Ph.D. Professor at the University of Bucharest, and a journalist. He is a member of the Romanian PEN and of the European Cultural Parliament. He published so far over 25 books – novels, poetry, essays and academic works, and a large number of articles. His work is translated in 23 languages. He received most of the Romanian literary prizes and ten international ones among which are to be mentioned The Austrian State Prize for Literature (2015), The Leipzig Book Prize for European Understanding (2015), The Spycher-Leuk Prize in Switzerland (2013), The Great Prize for Poetry in Serbia (2013), The Vilenica Prize in Slovenia (2011), etc.


ghfj Laia Jufresa is a Mexican writer. She is the author of the novel Umami and a laureate of the Mexico20 project. Her stories have appeared in publications such as Words Without Borders, Letras libres and McSweeney’s. She is currently working on her first screenplay. She lives, paints and writes in Cologne, Germany.

(Photo: Claudia Leal)



bhfmn Lee Yew Leong is the Singaporean founder of Asymptote, winner of the 2015 London Book Fair’s International Literary Translation Initiative. As Asymptote’s editor-in-chief, Yew Leong has presented a newly translated story or poem in the Guardian every Tuesday since November 2015. Based in Taipei, he works as a freelance editor and translator of contemporary Taiwanese literature. Among the three book-length works he has translated, Fu-chen Lo’s From Taiwan to the World and Back is the most recent publication. His translation of Chang Hui-Ching’s “War Among the Insects” was selected for the anthology Chutzpah!: New Voices from China (University of Oklahoma Press). Winner of the James Assatly Memorial Prize for Fiction (Brown University), he has written for The New York Times and Diagram, among others.



bfhmghfd Andrei Kurkov was born in St Petersburg in 1961. Having graduated from the Kiev Foreign Languages Institute, he worked for some time as a journalist, did his military service as a prison warder in Odessa, then became a film cameraman, writer of screenplays and author of critically acclaimed and popular novels translated into 37 languages. He is member of European Film Academy and Vice-President of Ukrainian PEN.


ghfjmg John Ralston Saul´s 14 books have been translated into 27 languages in 36 countries. Saul is President Emeritus of PEN International and co-Chair of the Institute for Canadian Citizenship. Some of his most important works include the philosophical trilogy, Voltaire´s Bastards, The Unconscious Civilization and The Doubter’s Companion with its conclusion, On Equilibrium. His most recent novel is Dark Diversions and most recent essay The Comeback, which has changed the conversation on Indigenous issues in Canada. His many awards include the Pablo Neruda Medal.




hgmgh Annelies Verbeke was born on the coldest day of 1976. She lives in Ghent, Belgium. She writes. Verbeke studied German Language and Literature, and screenwriting. She wrote film scripts for a while and made her prose debut with the international bestseller Sleep! (2003). Her work has been published in twenty-two countries and she was awarded with several literary prizes. Besides novels and stories, she also writes columns, scripts and theater texts. She is committee member of PEN Flanders and travels the world for her literary work. Her previous novels with De Geus include Giant, Greener Grass, Awake, Saving Fish and Assumptions. With Sanneke van Hassel she composed the anthology Towards the City.


PEN International promotes literature and freedom of expression and is governed by the PEN Charter and the principles it embodies: unhampered transmission of thought within each nation and between all nations. Founded in 1921, PEN International connects an international community of writers from its Secretariat in London. It is a forum where writers meet freely to discuss their work; it is also a voice speaking out for writers silenced in their own countries. Through Centres in over 100 countries, PEN operates on five continents. PEN International is a non-political organisation which holds Special Consultative Status at the UN and Associate Status at UNESCO. International PEN is a registered charity in England and Wales with registration number 1117088.