PEN/Robert J. Dau Short Story Prize for Emerging Writers 2020

DEADLINE: November 16, 2019
ADD TO CALENDAR: Google Calendar
REGION: United States

Entries are open for the PEN/Robert J. Dau Short Story Prize for Emerging Writers 2020.
PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect free expression in the United States and worldwide. They champion the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Their mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible.

Founded in 1922, PEN America is the largest of the more than 100 centers worldwide that make up the PEN International network. PEN America works to ensure that people everywhere have the freedom to create literature, to convey information and ideas, to express their views, and to access the views, ideas, and literatures of others. Their strength is their Membership — a nationwide community of more than 7,200 novelists, journalists, nonfiction writers, editors, poets, essayists, playwrights, publishers, translators, agents, and other writing professionals, as well as devoted readers and supporters who join with them to carry out PEN America’s mission.

The PEN/Robert J. Dau Short Story Prize for Emerging Writers each year recognizes twelve emerging fiction writers for their debut short story published during a given calendar year in a literary magazine or cultural website and aims to support the launch of their careers as fiction writers.

Location: United States


  • Each of the twelve winning writers will receive a cash purse of $2,000 and will be honored at the annual PEN Literary Awards Ceremony in New York City.
  • The independent book publisher Catapult will publish the twelve winning stories in an annual anthology entitled The PEN America Best Debut Short Stories.


  • PEN will only accept submissions from editors of eligible publications. Authors may not submit their own work.
  • Participating publications may be cultural websites, online magazines, or print magazines distributed in the U.S.
  • Editors from eligible publications may only submit a short story by a debut writer. The story must be the writer’s first English publication of ANY genre that has undergone an editorial review process and been accepted and published in a literary journal, book, media outlet, or other publication that the author is not academically or professionally associated with.
  • Stories must have been published or forthcoming in 2019.
  • Editors from eligible publications may submit up to four eligible stories from eligible authors in a given award year.
  • Editors from eligible publications must submit short stories that are up to 12,000 words in length.
  • The editor and author must agree to the award’s Declaration of Eligibility and Consent Form, which outlines serial rights for Catapult’s forthcoming anthology.
  • There are no restrictions on the candidate’s age or on the style of his or her work.

Eligible Regions: Open for All


  • Apply online through the given link.
  • Editors from eligible publications must download and complete the award’s Declaration of Eligibility and Consent form which is downloadable at the official link.
  • Application Deadline: November 16, 2019


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