Pen International seeks entries for New Voice Awards

Congolese writer Alain Mabanckou presenting the award to last year's winner, South African  Masande Ntshanga (South African PEN)

Congolese writer Alain Mabanckou presenting the award to last year’s winner, South African Masande Ntshanga (South African PEN)

The Pen Nigeria Centre has issued a call for entries for its PEN International 2nd annual New Voices Award which seeks to encourage new writing in the countries in which it operates and to provide a much needed space for young and unpublished writers to submit their work. The award will actively encourage entries from diverse linguistic regions and communities.
The New Voices awards, according to the organisers, aims to encourage new writing from writer between ages 18-30 in the categories of short stories, creative non-fiction, journalism, and poetry as well as to promote freedom of expression, literature, and the tenets of the PEN Charter.

It also aims to promote translations and into ‘bridge languages’ such as English, French, and Spanish among other objectives.

The jury for this year’s prize consist of prominent writers Xi Chuan, poet and professor of Chinese Literature as well as renowned Indian novelist Kiran Desai, Canadian novelist, essayist and critic Alberto Manguel and debut French novelist Alexandre Postel. The jury is rounded up by Pakistani novelist Kamila Shamsie.

The structure of the prize, details of entry are listed below

– all candidates must be over 17 & still under the age of 30 at the time of the closing date;
– writers who have published books may not enter, but those who have existing contracts with publishers for forthcoming books may enter. A nominee must not have had any book published during the entire duration of the award;
– writers who have published pamphlets, or work in magazines and journals are allowed to enter;
– all manuscripts entered must be the work of one author only;
– prose entries must be between 2,000-4,000 words;
– poetry entries may take the form of individual poems, a sequence, or one long poem of no more than 2,500 words in total;
– writers may only submit one prose work;
– all texts nominated must remain unpublished during the entire duration of the award;
– the winning writer will represent Nigeria and stands the chance of winning the star prize of $1,000 USD;
– the shortlist of three writers may be asked to participate in later events through PEN International;
– the winning writer will be announced during Congress;
– all translators will receive full accreditation and recognition;
– there will be no entry fee

– the submission window will close on 12 midnight of March 30th 2014 and no late entries will be considered;
– the National Secretariat, will draw up an initial longlist with input from the panel of judges
– PEN Nigeria’s judging panel of experts, aims to reflect and be representative of
PEN’s global remit and aims;
– There would be no less than three judges evaluating each of the genres;
– Each of the judges, working independently, would come up with a list of three, scored over a hundred;
– Two successful entrants in each genre would be provided official entry form for the international grand finale

– The two shortlisted candidates would be eligible for a one year online mentorship programme starting from 2015

– amendments cannot be made to entries after they have been submitted, nor
substitutions made;
– it is not possible to confirm receipt of entries by phone or email;
– poems to be single-spaced and a line count noted at the top of the first page;
– short stories to be double-spaced and a word count noted at the top of the first page;
– the filename of online entries must be the title of the entry and it must be either a .doc, .docx, .rtf file: we cannot accept PDFs
– all entries are judged anonymously: do not include the entrant’s name on the
document, only on the covering mail;
– the judges’ decision is final and no individual correspondence can be entered into.

Entries and enquiries should be emailed to the Secretary General, PEN Nigeria, Ropo Ewenla: firo_po@yahoo.co.uk. Entries must bear the subject: NV 2014 ( Title of work)


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