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PEN/Heim Translation Fund Grants ($2,000-$4,000)

Click here to read excerpts from the 2013 Translation Fund winners. Read excerpts from the 2012 winners here

The PEN/Heim Translation Fund was established in the summer of 2003 by a gift of $730,000 from Priscilla and Michael Henry Heim in response to the dismayingly low number of literary translations currently appearing in English. Its purpose is to promote the publication and reception of translated world literature in English.

Over the ten years of its existence, the Fund has given grants of $2,000–$10,000 to a total of 108 translations from over 30 languages, including Armenian, Basque, Estonian, Farsi, Finland-Swedish, Lithuanian and Mongolian, as well as French, Spanish, German, Russian, Chinese, Japanese, and Arabic.
 
Among the 50 projects awarded grants in the Fund’s first five years of operation (2004–2008), 39 of those (78%) have thus far been published or are forthcoming from a publisher. Many of those books found their publishers as a result of being awarded a grant by the Fund. 
 
In addition to being excerpted and favorably reviewed in a host of magazines including The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books, Granta, The Paris Review, Words Without Borders, The Literary Review, Mandorla, and many others, about 20 percent of the published PEN Translation Fund projects have won or been shortlisted for major literary awards, including:
 
  • Winner of the 2009 Northern California Book Award for Translation: Katherine Silver for Senselessness by Horacio Castellanos Moya (New Directions, 2008) 
  • Winner of the R. R. Hawkins Award from the Professional and Scholarly Publishing Division of the Association of American Publishers, as the Outstanding Professional, Reference or Scholarly Book of 2007: Peter Cole for The Dream of the Poem: Hebrew Poetry from Muslim and Christian Spain, 950–1492 (Princeton University Press, 2007)
  • Winner of the 2007 National Jewish Book Award for Poetry: Peter Cole for The Dream of the Poem: Hebrew Poetry from Muslim and Christian Spain, 950–1492 (Princeton University Press, 2007)
  • Finalist for a National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry: Karen Emmerich for her translation of Miltos Sachtouris’ Poems (1945–1971) from the Greek (Archipelago Books, 2007)
  • Winner of the 2006 Helen and Kurt Wolff Translator’s Prize from the Goethe-Institut Chicago: Susan Bernofsky for her translation of Jenny Erpenbeck’s The Old Child and Other Stories from the German (New Directions, 2005)
  • Support from the Lannan Foundation’s Translation Selections Series: Idra Novey’s translation of Brazilian poet Pablo Henriques Britto’s The Clean Shirt of It: Selected Poems (BOA Editions, 2007)
  • Short-listed for Canada’s highly prestigious Griffin Poetry Prize in 2006: Liz Winslow’s translation of Iraqi poet Dunya Mikhail’s The War Works Hard (New Directions, 2005)
  • Named one of the 25 Books to Remember of 2005 by the New York Public Library: Liz Winslow’s translation of Dunya Mikhail’s The War Works Hard (New Directions, 2005)
 

Eligibility and Submissions for the 2014 Awards

Who is eligible
The PEN/Heim Translation Fund provides grants to support the translation of book-length works of fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, or drama that have not previously appeared in English in print or have appeared only in an outdated or otherwise flawed translation. There are no restrictions on the nationality or citizenship of the translator, but the works must be translated into English. The Fund seeks to encourage translators to undertake projects they might not otherwise have had the means to attempt. Anthologies with multiple translators, works of literary criticism, and scholarly or technical texts do not qualify. As of 2008, translators who have previously been awarded grants by the Fund are ineligible to reapply for three years after the year in which they receive a grant. In addition, projects that have already been submitted and have not received a grant are unlikely to be reconsidered in a subsequent year. Translators may only submit one project per year. 
 

Deadline
Submissions for the 2014 PEN Awards are now closed. This award will be offered again in the fall of 2014. 

 
Notification
A notification period will be determined later this summer.
 
How to submit:
Each translator must submit one hardcopy of their application along with an electronic copy through Sumittable. Early application is strongly advised. Applications must include:
 
1. The application coversheet, with all items completed.
 
2. A 10–12-page, single-spaced sample of the translation.
 
3. The same passage in the original language (and, if the work has been previously translated, the same passage in the earlier version).
 
4. A one- to two-page, single-spaced statement outlining the work and describing its importance.
 
5. A biography and bibliography of the author, including information on translations of his or her work into other languages.
 
6. A CV of the translator, no longer than three pages.
 
7. If the book is not in the public domain and the project is not yet under contract, please include a photocopy of the copyright notice on the original (the copyright notice is a line including the character ©, a date, and the name of the copyright holder, which appears as part of the front matter in every book), and a letter from the copyright holder stating that English-language rights to the book are available.
 
8. If the translation is currently under contract with a publisher, please submit a copy of the contract.
 
Once you have submitted your electronic copy via Submittable, please send one hard copy of all above mentioned application materials to:
 
     PEN/Heim Translation Fund
     PEN American Center 
     588 Broadway, Suite 303
     New York, NY 10012
 
For more information, please contact awards@pen.org.