The PEN International/New Voices Award 2015 is now open for business. The award provides a much needed space for young and unpublished writers to promote their work. The award actively encourages entries from diverse linguistic regions and communities and is open to unpublished writers aged 18-30.
The young writers must be nominated by their local PEN Centre as PEN International cannot receive entries directly from candidates. I expect that Pen Kenya chairman Khainga O’Okwemba email will be blowing up in the next few days until the deadline of May 22.
This years awards will be judged by Juan Tomás Ávila Laurel from Guinea and Edwige-Renée Dro from Côte d’Ivoire. There are other judges. Laurel is one of the Guinean intellectuals of most international prominence, widely considered the most distinguished among a group of writers in his country. From 1999 to 2008 he was editor-in-chief of magazines El Patio and Atanga (Equatorial Guinea). He has published in all literary genres and is the recipient, for some of his books, of prizes in both national and international awards, such as Third Prize for Narrative with ‘El Desmayo de Judas’ (Judas Faints) in the ’35th International Odón Betanzos Palacios Award’, organised in 1999 by the New York Circle of Iberoamerican Writers and Poets. He has been Joseph Astman Distinguished Faculty Lecturer (Hofstra University, New York, 2003.)
Edwige-Renée Dro is one of the Africa39 gang and has been short-listed for the Miles Morland Writing Scholarship. her stories have been published in Prufrock magazine, Prima magazine etc. She blogs at laretournee.mondoblog.org, a France24 and RFI platform where she looks at her country through the eyes of a returnee. Edwige lives and works in Côte d’Ivoire as a translator.
So all you 18 – 30 years olds I suggest you have at it. You could be like Masande Ntshangafor his winning entry Space in last year’s competition.