The PEN International/New Voices Award was started in 2013 and is open to unpublished writers aged 18-30, the writers are nominated by their local PEN centres and submitted to PEN International for consideration. PEN International cannot receive entries directly from candidates.
The award encourages new writing in the countries in which we operate, and provides a much needed space for young and unpublished writers to promote their work.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, CA 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 inaugural PEN International/New Voices Award was won by South African writer and PEN SA member Masande Ntshanga for his short story “Space“.
Winner: Masande Ntshanga (PEN South Africa)
Runners-up: José Pablo Salas (PEN Mexico), Claire Battershill (PEN Canada)
PEN SA Nominees: Masande Ntshanga and Olivia Walton
Winner: Marina Babanskaya (St Petersburg PEN Chapter)
Runners-up: Kasim Bazil (Central Asian PEN), Amalia Cernat (Romanian PEN)
PEN SA Nominees: David Cornwell and Megan Ross
Winner: Rebecca F. John (Wales PEN Cymru)
Runners-up: Lea Sauer (German PEN), Sophie Prévost (PEN Québec)
PEN SA Nominees: Genna Gardini and Liam Kruger
Winner: Laura Legge (PEN Canada)
Runners-up: Julian Amankwaa (German PEN), Ioana Vintila (Romanian PEN)
PEN SA Nominees: Beatrice Willoughby and James Clarke
No award was announced in 2017.
(Content and image courtesy of PEN International)