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The PEN Translation Prize (formerly known as the PEN/Book-of-the-Month Club Translation Prize through 2008) is an annual award given by the PEN American Center to outstanding translations into the English language. It has been presented annually by PEN American Center and the Book of the Month Club since 1963. It was the first award in the United States expressly for literary translators.[1] A 1999 New York Times article called it "the Academy Award of Translation" and that the award is thus usually not given to younger translators.[2]

The distinction comes with a cash prize of USD $3,000. Any book-length English translation published in the United States during the year in question is eligible, irrespective of the residence or nationality of either the translator or the original author.[3]

The award is separate from the similar PEN Award for Poetry in Translation.

The PEN Translation Prize was called one of "the most prominent translation awards."[4] The award is one of many PEN awards sponsored by International PEN affiliates in over 145 PEN centres around the world. The PEN American Center awards have been characterized as being among the "major" American literary prizes.[5]


Year Translator Book and author Language
2018[6][7][8] Len Rix Katalin Street by Magda Szabó Hungarian
2017[9] Tess Lewis Angel of Oblivion by Maja Haderlap German
2016[10][11] Katrina Dodson The Complete Stories by Clarice Lispector Portuguese
2015[12][13] Denise Newman Baboon by Naja Marie Aidt Danish
2014[14][15] Joanne Turnbull & Nikolai Formozov Autobiography of a Corpse by Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky Russian
2013[16][17] Donald O. White The Island of Second Sight by Albert Vigoleis Thelen German
2012[18] Bill Johnston Stone Upon Stone by Wieslaw Mysliwski Polish
2011[19] Ibrahim Muhawi Journal of an Ordinary Grief by Mahmoud Darwish Arabic
2010[20] Michael Henry Heim Wonder by Hugo Claus Dutch
2009[21] Natasha Wimmer 2666 by Roberto Bolaño Spanish
2008[22] Margaret Jull Costa The Maias by Eça de Queirós Portuguese
2007 Sandra Smith Suite Française by Irène Némirovsky French
2006 Philip Gabriel Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami Japanese
2005 Tim Wilkinson Fatelessness by Imre Kertész Hungarian
2004 Margaret Sayers Peden Sepharad by Antonio Muñoz Molina Spanish
2003 R.W. Flint The Moon and the Bonfires by Cesare Pavese Italian
2002 Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy Russian
2001 Tiina Nunnally The Cross by Sigrid Undset Norwegian
2000 Richard Sieburth Selected Writings by Gérard de Nerval French
1999 Michael Hofmann The String of Pearls by Joseph Roth German
1998 Peter Constantine Six Early Stories by Thomas Mann German
1997 Arnold Pomerans The Letters of Vincent van Gogh Dutch
1996 Stanisław Barańczak and Clare Cavanagh View With a Grain of Sand by Wisława Szymborska Polish
1995 Burton Watson Selected Poems of Su Tung-p'o Chinese
1994 Bill Zavatsky and Zack Rogow Earthlight by André Breton French
1993 Thomas Hoisington The Adventures of Mr. Nicholas Wisdom by Ignacy Krasicki Polish
1992 David Rosenberg A Poet's Bible Hebrew
1991 Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky Russian
1990 William Weaver Foucault's Pendulum by Umberto Eco Italian
1989 Matthew Ward The Stranger by Albert Camus French
1988 Madeline Levine and Francine Prose A Scrap of Time by Ida Fink Polish
1987 John E. Woods Perfume: The Story of a Murderer by Patrick Süskind German
Barbara Bray The Lover by Marguerite Duras French
Dennis Tedlock Popul Vuh: The Mayan Book of the Dawn of Life Quiché
Helen R. Lane The War of the End of the World by Mario Vargas Llosa Spanish
Seamus Heaney Sweeney Astray Irish
1984 William Weaver The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco Italian
1983 Richard Wilbur Four Comedies: The Misanthrope, Tartuffe, The Learned Ladies, The School for Wives by Molière French
1982 Hiroaki Sato and Burton Watson From the Country of Eight Islands: An Anthology of Japanese Poetry Japanese
1981 John E. Woods Evening Edged in Gold by Arno Schmidt German
1980 Charles Simic Homage to the Lame Wolf by Vasco Popa
1979 Charles Wright The Storm and Other Poems by Eugenio Montale Italian
1979 Adrienne Foulke One Way or Another by Leonardo Sciascia Italian
1977 Gregory Rabassa The Autumn of the Patriarch by Gabriel García Márquez Spanish
1976 Richard Howard A Short History of Decay by E. M. Cioran French
1975 Helen R. Lane Count Julian by Juan Goytisolo Spanish
1974 Hardie St. Martin and Leonard Mades The Obscene Bird of Night by José Donoso Spanish
1973 J. P. McCullough The Poems of Sextus Propertius Latin
1972 Richard Winston and Clara Winston Letters of Thomas Mann German
1971 Max Hayward Hope Against Hope by Nadezhda Mandelstam Russian
1970 Sidney Alexander The History of Italy by Francesco Guicciardini Italian
1969 W. S. Merwin Selected Translations 1948-1968 Various
1968 Vladimir Markov and Merrill Sparks (eds.) Modern Russian Poetry Russian
1967 Harriet de Onis Sagarana by João Guimarães Rosa Portuguese
1966 Geoffrey Skelton and Adrian Mitchell Marat/Sade by Peter Weiss German
1965 Joseph Barnes The Story of a Life by Konstantin Paustovsky Russian
1964 Ralph Manheim The Tin Drum by Günter Grass German
1963 Archibald Colquhoun The Viceroys by Federico de Roberto Italian


  1. ^ "PEN honors Norwegian translations". (Norway's official website in the USA). 2001. Retrieved August 27, 2012.
  2. ^ EDWARD LEWINE (January 17, 1999). "MAKING IT WORK; The Man Who Tracked Down Chekhov". New York Times. Retrieved August 27, 2012.
  3. ^ "Pen Translation Prize". Retrieved 27 January 2017.
  4. ^ Robert Wechsler (1998). "Performing Without a Stage". Performing Without a Stage: The Art of Literary Translation. Catbird Press. pp. 278–279.
  5. ^ Alfred Bendixen (2005). "Literary Prizes and Awards". The Continuum Encyclopedia of American Literature. Continuum International Publishing Group. p. 689.
  6. ^ John Maher (February 21, 2018). "Long Soldier, Zhang, Le Guin Win At 2018 PEN Literary Awards". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved February 21, 2018.
  7. ^ "The 2018 PEN America Literary Awards Winners". PEN America. February 20, 2018. Retrieved February 21, 2018.
  8. ^ Porter Anderson (January 31, 2018). "Industry Notes: PEN America's Finalists". Publishing Perspectives. Retrieved February 21, 2018.
  9. ^ "2017 PEN America Literary Awards Winners - PEN America". PEN America. 2017-03-27. Retrieved 2017-08-02.
  10. ^ Maggie Galehouse (March 1, 2016). "PEN Literary Award winners announced". Chron. Retrieved March 2, 2016.
  11. ^ "2016 PEN Literary Award Winners". PEN. March 1, 2016. Retrieved March 2, 2016.
  12. ^ Carolyn Kellogg (May 13, 2015). "PEN announces award-winners and shortlists". LA Times. Retrieved May 14, 2015.
  13. ^ "2015 PEN Literary Award Winners". Retrieved May 14, 2015.
  14. ^ Ron Charles (July 30, 2014). "Winners of the 2014 PEN Literary Awards". Washington Post. Retrieved August 1, 2014.
  15. ^ "2014 PEN Translation Prize". Retrieved August 1, 2014.
  16. ^ Carolyn Kellogg (August 14, 2013). "Jacket Copy: PEN announces winners of its 2013 awards". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 14, 2013.
  17. ^ "2013 PEN Translation Prize". Retrieved August 1, 2014.
  18. ^ "2012 PEN Translation Prize". Retrieved August 1, 2014.
  19. ^ "2011 PEN Translation Prize". Retrieved August 1, 2014.
  20. ^ "2010 PEN Translation Prize". Retrieved August 1, 2014.
  21. ^ "2009 PEN Translation Prize". Retrieved August 1, 2014.
  22. ^ "2008 PEN Translation Prize". Retrieved August 1, 2014.

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