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.

You can keep up to date with our weekly literary dispatches from around the world, showcasing the very best international writing, through our PEN Atlas


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

  • Our long-standing programme, PEN Promotes, awards promotional grants to UK publishers of translated literature.
  • Our new programme, PEN Translates, launched in 2012, awards grants to UK publishers for the translation costs of literature into English.
  • We also offer small grants to fund sample translations and professional readers’ reports through our PEN Samples scheme.


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. Through our PEN Promotes scheme we also support regular events around the country featuring PEN writers and translators.

In September we mark International Translation Day with an annual conference. This conference is a unique annual event within the translation community that brings together industry professionals to debate significant issues and developments within the sector, to discuss challenges and to celebrate success.

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. Every Thursday, we post literary dispatches from around the world, showcasing the very best international writers. We bring new insights into the rich literary landscape that may be found beyond the English language.

“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 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: Samantha Schnee (editor)

Fathieh Saudi (poet)
Miranda France (writer, translator)
Rebecca Servadio (literary scout)
Rachel Van Riel (reader development)
Rose Cole (bookseller)
Julian Evans (writer, translator)
Jonathan Ruppin (bookseller)
Emma House (publishing professional)
Lynn Gaspard (publisher)
Alev Adil (poet)
Fiona Murphy (publicist)
Raficq Abdulla (writer)
Ros Schwartz (translator)
Pete Ayrton (publisher)
Laura Macaulay (publisher)
Lulu Norman (translator)