About the programme

English PEN campaigns for the freedom to write and the freedom to read. The limited range of writing available in English translation in the UK remains a barrier to free speech. It prevents many writers from reaching a UK audience and many readers from accessing great writing from around the world. Through our Writers in Translation programme, we champion literature beyond national and linguistic borders and beyond conventional literary expectations.

Keep up to date with our literary dispatches from around the world, showcasing the very best international writing, through our PEN Atlas  blog. 


English PEN currently offers two different kinds of financial awards to support publishers and translators who want to reach an English-speaking audience.

  • PEN Translates, launched in 2012, awards grants to UK publishers for the translation costs of literature into English.
  • PEN Presents  helps literary translators to champion exciting books from around the world to be published in the UK.


In addition to our grant-giving programmes, we run campaigns, advocacy programmes and events to raise awareness of – and stimulate demand for – literature in translation. Our PEN Atlas event series features international writers and translators.

In September we mark International Translation Day  with an annual conference at the British Library. This conference is a unique annual event within the translation community and provides an opportunity to discuss significant issues and developments within the sector in a lively and engaging forum. 

In partnership with the London Book Fair, we programme the Literary Translation Centre at the Fair each year and are responsible for a series of seminars and discussions.


The PEN Atlas  is an online gateway to a world of literature. We post literary dispatches and interviews from around the world, showcasing the very best international writers. We bring new insights into the literary landscape that exists beyond the borders of one country.

“There are not words enough in my countless dictionaries to express my admiration for PEN’s Writers in Translation programme. Over the years I have been fortunate enough to have several projects supported by the programme and know the  vital role WiT plays  in supporting publishers, facilitating visits and organising events by foreign authors and tirelessly promoting the visibility of translators and world literature”. 

Frank Wynne, award winning literary translator

The Committee

Chair: Lulu Norman (translator)

Rebecca Servadio (literary scout)
Rachel Van Riel (reader development)
Rose Cole (bookseller)
Jonathan Ruppin (bookseller)
Emma House (publishing professional)
Lynn Gaspard (publisher)
Alev Adil (poet)
Raficq Abdulla (writer)
Ros Schwartz (translator)
Pete Ayrton (publisher)
Laura Macaulay (publisher)
Rebecca Carter (agent)
Zain Mahmood (Waterstones manager)
Toby Lichtig (fiction editor TLS)
Arifa Akbar (literary editor Independent)
Sarah Ardizzone (translator)