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The PEN International/New Voices Award 2015 was presented on October 14. The 2016 Award will open for submissions from February

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Award encourages new writing in the countries in which we operate, and provides a much needed space for young and unpublished writers to promote their work.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 The award is open to unpublished writers aged 18-30.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.

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 2015


Photo by Sirichoke Lertyaso

Zakariya Amataya is a Thai poet who is interested in foreign poems. His translated works and poems have been published regularly in newspapers and journals. He founded thaipoetsociety.com and also ran poetry readings and events for many years. His first collection of free verse poems was No Women in Poetry (2010), which was awarded the S.E.A. Write Award for Thailand in 2010. His second collection of poems was But in Us It Is Deep As The Sea (2013). In 2011 he resided in Hawaii for the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art’s Artist in Residence Program.





Juan Tomás Ávila Laurel , born in Malabo in 1966, is one of the Guinean intellectuals of most international prominence, widely considered the most distinguished among a group of writers in his country who, prior to 2011, had not sought exile. From 1999 to 2008 he was editor-in-chief of magazines El Patio and Atanga (Equatorial Guinea). He has published in all literary genres and is the recipient, for some of his books, of prizes in both national and international awards, such as Third Prize for Narrative with ‘El Desmayo de Judas’ (Judas Faints) in the ’35th International Odón Betanzos Palacios Award’, organised in 1999 by the New York Circle of Iberoamerican Writers and Poets. He has been Joseph Astman Distinguished Faculty Lecturer (Hofstra University, New York, 2003.)



Edwige-Renée Dro hails from Côte d’Ivoire. A laureate of the Africa39 project and short-listed for the Miles Morland Writing Scholarship, her stories have been published in Prufrock magazine, Prima magazine, africanwriters.com, etc. She blogs at laretournee.mondoblog.org, a France24 and RFI platform where she looks at her country through the eyes of a returnee. Edwige lives and works in Côte d’Ivoire as a translator.




Drago Jančar has studied law, worked as journalist, editor and freelance writer. In 1985 he was a Fulbright fellow in the USA, and in 1988 in Germany. As president of the Slovenian PEN Centre l987-91 he was engaged in rise of democracy in Slovenia and Yugoslavia. Now he lives in Ljubljana. For the novel I Saw Her That Night he won the Prix du Meilleur Livre Étranger 2014 for the best foreign book in France.




Yann Martel was born in Spain in 1963 of Canadian parents. After studying philosophy at university, he worked at odd jobs and travelled before turning to writing. He is the author of the internationally acclaimed 2002 Man Booker Prize-winning novel Life of Pi, as well as the novels Self and Beatrice and Virgil, and the stories The Facts Behind the Helsinki Roccamatios, and the collection of letters to Stephen Harper 101 Letters to a Prime Minister. Yann Martel lives in Saskatchewan, Canada.




Olga Tokarczuk (b. 1962) is one of the most popular contemporary writers in Poland. By training a psychologist, she is based in Wałbrzych. She has on multiple occasions won the Reader’s Prize of the NIKE literary award. A prize winning play has also been based on Prawiek i Inne Czasy. Her novel House of day, House of Night is available from Granta and Northwestern University Press. She has published a long essay about Boleslaw Prus’ 19th century classic, The Doll.



For information about the award, please contact James Tennant, PEN International’s Literature & Strategic Partnerships Manager: james.tennant[at]pen-international.org

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.