PEN International New Voices Award 2015

By | March 11, 2015 at 3:36 pm | No comments | News | Tags: , , , , ,

Now accepting submissions for the New Voices Award for emerging writers

PEN Canada is now accepting submissions for the third annual PEN International New Voices Award. The award aims to encourage new writing and to provide a space where young, unpublished writers can submit their work. The winning writer, selected from the submissions of PEN centres around the world, will be published by PEN International and will be awarded a $1,000 prize.

Submissions can be made up to midnight April 26, 2015. After all entries have been received, an independent jury will review a shortlist and select one entry to be submitted to the international jury.

Submissions must be in English. The chosen entry will be translated into PEN’s two other official languages (Spanish, French) and submitted to PEN International. All judging will be blind. For detailed submission guidelines and terms of entry please read on. 

Read an interview with Claire Battershill who was nominated by PEN Canada and shortlisted for the 2013 New Voices Award. Read her submission, a short story entitled “The Collective Name for Ninjas”.

This year PEN Canada’s contest will be judged by three veteran Canadian editors: Mark Medley (Globe and Mail books Editor), editor, publicist and books columnist Becky Toyne, and Brownyn Drainie (The Literary Review of Canada),

Mark Medley

Mark Medley

Mark Medley is the Globe and Mail’s Books Editor. Prior to joining the paper he spent more than seven years at the National Post, where he served as an arts reporter and books editor. He’s profiled many of the world’s foremost authors, from Salman Rushdie and Margaret Atwood to Jonathan Franzen and Martin Amis, and frequently serves as a host and interviewer at literary festivals across the country. A graduate of Queen’s and Ryerson University, his work has appeared in publications including Toronto Life, The Walrus and across the Postmedia chain of newspapers.


Becky Toyne

Becky Toyne




Becky Toyne is a freelance books columnist, editor and publicist with more than 12 years’ experience in the UK and Canada. She has worked as an in-house editor at Random House in both countries, and as head of communications for Toronto’s International Festival of Authors (IFOA), where she was named one of the “Faces of Publishing’s Future” by Quill & Quire magazine. Becky is a freelance publicist for the Writers’ Trust of Canada, which has a program of ten national literary awards, and a member of the Trust’s communications committee. She writes a popular column about Toronto’s literary scene for, is a national and provincial books columnist for CBC Radio One, and a regular event host and interviewer for festivals including IFOA and Word on the Street.

Bronwyn Drainie

Bronwyn Drainie  is one of Canada’s leading cultural journalists and has been editor of the LRC (Literary Review of Canada) since 2003. From 1988 to 1996 she wrote a regular arts column for The Globe and Mail. Prior to that, from 1969 to 1985 she worked in broadcast journalism, mainly for the CBC. She has written for Saturday Night, Chatelaine, Report on Business, Toronto Life, Elm Street, Canadian Forum, Books in Canada and in 1987 she won a gold medal from the National Magazine Awards for “Happier Endings”, an article on funerals and cemeteries in Toronto.As a broadcaster, Bronwyn worked for many years at CBC-Radio, hosting “Sunday Morning” for five years. In 1989 she won the ACTRA Award as Best Host-Interviewer on Radio . In 1987 she won a gold medal from the National Magazine Awards for “Happier Endings”, an article on funerals and cemeteries in Toronto. Bronwyn has written two books. Her first, in 1986, was “Living the Part: John Drainie and the Dilemma of Canadian Stardom”, a biography of her father. Her second book, published in 1994, was “My Jerusalem: Secular Adventures in the Holy City”, which was short-listed for Ontario’s Trillium Award

Submission Guidelines

  • All submissions must be received before midnight April 26, 2015
  • All entrants must be over 17 but under 30 by May 22, 2015
  • Please send all submissions to:
  • No entry may be altered after submission
  • It is not possible to confirm receipt of entries by phone or email

Entries must be emailed and must include:

  1.   Cover sheet – this should state applicant contact information (address, phone, email), date of birth, and the title of work being submitted. Download the cover sheet below.
  2.  Submission – short stories, creative non-fiction, journalism, and poetry. The title of the submission should appear in the top margins of each page and match the title stated on the cover sheet. Download the full submission guidelines below. Do not include your name on this document.
  • The filename of the submission must be the title of the submission and it must be a MS Word file or .rtf.  PDFs will not be accepted.
  • All entries are judged anonymously: DO NOT INCLUDE YOUR NAME on the document, only on the cover sheet


  • All writers must be over 17 but under the age of 30 on May 22, 2015
  • All writers should be current residents of Canada. Applicants outside of Canada wishing to participate should submit through the PEN Centre nearest them.
  • Writers who have published books may not enter but those with publishing contracts for forthcoming books may enter. Candidates must not have had any book published during the entire duration of the award.
  • Writers who have published pamphlets, or whose work has appeared in magazines and journals may enter.
  • All texts entered must be the work of one author only.
  • All texts submitted must remain unpublished during the entire duration of the award.

Prose Submissions

  • Prose entries must be between 2,000-4,000 words.
  • Short stories should be double-spaced and a word count noted at the top of the first page.
  • Writers may only submit one prose work.

Poetry Submissions

  • Poetry entries may take the form of individual poems, a sequence, or one long poem of no more than 2,500 words in total.
  • Poems to be single-spaced and a line count noted at the top of the first page.

Terms and Conditions

PEN Canada

  • Submissions to PEN Canada will be shortlisted and then evaluated by an independent jury.
  • PEN Canada will nominate one entry for submission to PEN International, which will be translated into French and Spanish.

PEN International

  • PEN International will draw up an initial longlist of entries received from PEN centres in-house; each of these texts will be assessed in English, French and Spanish by the judging panel. PEN International will also arrange an assessment of the entries in their original language.
  • PEN International has assembled a judging panel of six experts: Zakaria Amataya, Juan Tomás Ávila Laurel, Edwige-Renée Dro, Drago Jančar, Yann Martel, and Olga Tokarczuk.
  • The initial longlist will be passed to the panel, each of whom will choose their own longlist of six.
  • The judges will confer to finalize one single longlist of six, and subsequently a shortlist of three.
  • All longlisted writers can request feedback and advice on the next steps to take toward a writing career.
  • All shortlisted entries are eligible for publication by PEN International and its Centres.
  • The shortlist of three writers may be asked to participate in later events through PEN International.
  • The winning writer will be announced during the PEN International Congress.
  • The winning entry will be published by PEN International.
  • The winning writer will receive an award of US$1,000.
  • All translators will receive full accreditation and recognition.
  • The judges’ decision is final – no individual correspondence can be entered into.
  • PEN International reserves the right to change the panel of judges without notice.
  • Worldwide copyright of each entry remains with the author, but PEN International will have the unrestricted right to publish entries in the e-anthology, in print, on the website, and in any relevant promotional material.

Please contact Pari Rajagopalan via e-mail at if you have any questions.

Submission Cover Sheet

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