PEN America: Grants for Creative Writing

OVERVIEW: PEN America, the U.S. branch of the world’s oldest international literary and human rights organization, is one of the largest and most respected literary organizations in the country. Its fellowships and prizes are some of the most widely respected and highly sought after in the field of writing. Though competition can be fierce, just receiving a PEN America honor can be more valuable than the amount of the award itself.

IP TAKE: PEN America awards and fellowships run the gamut from beginner to professional and fiction to nonfiction, but regardless of who is seeking which honor, the competition can be some of the toughest out there.

PROFILE: PEN America gives out over $150,000 in awards and grants each year to writers in the areas of fiction, science writing, essays, sports writing, biography, children’s literature, translation, drama, and poetry. It also maintains programs like the World Voices Festival, Prison Writing Program, Children's and Young Adult Authors Committee, PEN America Journal, and the Open Book Program, which encourages racial and ethnic diversity within the literary and publishing communities.

The laundry list of PEN America awards, grants, and fellowships are as follows:

Most of these awards are only awarded to work published in the United States.

PEN/America also administers the unique, and much needed, Writers' Emergency Fund, which provides grants of up to $2,000 for "professional—published or produced—writers in acute, emergency financial crisis." Recipients need not be members of PEN/America.

Final tip: you're highly encouraged to become a member of PEN/America before submitting your work for any of these awards.

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