Call for Submissions: New Voices Award 2016

By | March 22, 2016 at 4:27 pm | No comments | News | Tags: ,

PEN Canada is now accepting English language submissions for the third annual PEN International New Voices Award. The annual award aims to encourage new writing and to provide a space where young, unpublished writers can submit short stories, creative non-fiction, journalism, and poetry.

Please submit your entries by midnight on April 21, 2016. PEN Canada’s independent jury (Emily Keeler, senior editor at The Walrus; Dionne Brand, former poet-laureate of Toronto; and Nino Ricci, PEN Canada past-president and novelist) will nominate one entry to submit to PEN International. The writer of the selected entry will receive a prize of $1000(CAD) from PEN Canada.

The PEN International jury will choose the winning entry from submissions made by 150 PEN centres from around the world. The winning writer will be published by PEN International and will receive a $1000(USD) prize.

Submissions to PEN Canada must be in English. The chosen entry will be translated into Spanish and French and submitted to PEN International. All judging will be blind. For detailed submission guidelines and terms of entry please read on. 

Submission Guidelines

  • All submissions must be received before midnight April 21, 2016. 
  • 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.   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 template here.
  2.   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. 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 27, 2016
  • 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.
  • The initial long list will be passed to the panel, each of whom will choose their own long list of six.
  • The judges will confer to finalize one single long list of six, and subsequently a shortlist of three.
  • All long listed 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 $1,000 USD.
  • All translators will receive full accreditation and recognition.
  • The judges’ decision is final and 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 ( if you have any questions.



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