FAQ

Submitting to the Literary Awards
 
Who may submit work to the Literary Awards?
Work may be submitted by authors, their publishers, agents, or publicists, provided we receive four (4) copies of each title being submitted, the submission fee(s), and a completed submission form for each title. Submissions will not be returned. The Call for Submissions and Contest Guidelines are posted to our website each July.
 
When may I enter the Literary Awards? 
Once the submission process is open, book category submissions (fiction, creative nonfiction, research nonfiction, poetry, children's literature, graphic literature, translation) must be received by December 31st. Non-book category (drama, journalism, screenplay, teleplay) submissions must be received by February 28th.
 
When are the Literary Awards winners announced? 
The winners are announced each fall. 
 
How do the Literary Awards contribute to PEN Center USA’s Freedom To Write mission?
By recognizing the best writing in the West, PEN Center USA gives winning writers exposure to a readership that they might not have otherwise reached.
 
Are only members of PEN Center USA eligible to enter the Literary Awards?
No. All writers and translators whose primary residence is in the United States, west of the Mississippi River, including all of Minnesota and Louisiana, are eligible. For works written by two or more persons, the majority of the writers must reside west of the Mississippi River, including all of Minnesota and Louisiana.
 
 
Are self-published, print-on-demand, or e-books eligible for submission? 
No. Only professionally published books (i.e. when an author receives payment from a recognized publisher) are considered eligible. Books published with/by companies such as America Star, AuthorHouse, Author Solutions, Author’s Choice, Book Surge, iUniverse, Lulu.com, Xlibris, etc., are considered print-on-demand and are ineligible. At this time, e-books are also ineligible.
 
What needs to be included in a submission?
Four (4) copies of each title being submitted, the submission fee(s), and one completed submission form for each title. Submissions will not be returned.
 
For Screenplay and Teleplay please contact PEN Center USA at awards@penusa.org for submission procedures.

Is there a limit to how many titles an individual writer may submit per year?
No. Provided each submission was published in the calendar year for which we are soliciting, and that all other criteria for submissions are met, there is no limit to how many titles an individual writer may submit. Each submission must include four (4) copies of each title being submitted, the submission fees, and one completed submission form for each title. 
 
Is there a limit to how many titles a publishing house may submit on behalf of its authors per year?
No. Provided each submission was published in the calendar year for which we are soliciting, and that all other criteria for submissions - including writers’ residency requirements - are met, there is no limit to how many titles a publisher may submit. Each submission must include four (4) copies of each title being submitted, the submission fees, and a completed submission form for each title.
 
Are writers who live west of the Mississippi River, but are not U.S. citizens, eligible to enter the awards? 
Yes. The awards are open to works published or produced by writers who currently reside in the United States west of the Mississippi River, including all of Minnesota and Louisiana.
 
I am a U.S. citizen and I live in British Columbia, Canada. It’s west of the Mississippi River. May I enter the awards? 
No. Only writers who live west of the Mississippi River in the United States may enter the Literary Awards.
 
I lived west of the Mississippi River while I researched and wrote the book, but I moved before I decided to enter the awards. Am I still eligible?
Yes. You must have lived west of the Mississippi River in the United States while writing the submission.
 
If two people co-authored a book, and one of them lives west of the Mississippi River while the other lives east, is their book eligible?
Yes. However, if a book is co-authored by three people, two of the three must reside west of the Mississippi River in the United States. 
 
I wrote a children’s book and I live east of the Mississippi River, but my illustrator lives west of it. Is our book eligible?
No. The author must reside west of the Mississippi River, as this is a literary competition.
 
If a play was written over a year ago but it was not produced until this year, is it eligible?
Yes. The only eligibility requirement for performance categories (i.e. Drama, Teleplay and Screenplay) is that the submission was originally performed or produced in the calendar year for which we are soliciting. Staged readings are not eligible.
 
Are anthologies eligible?
No. Anthologies, literary journals, and “Best Of” collections are not eligible.
 
Are bloggers eligible to submit in the journalism category?
No. Only pieces solicited for publication by established periodicals are eligible.
 
If the author is unsure of which category to select, will PEN Center USA make the choice, or is it possible to select multiple categories? 
No. Before submitting, a decision must be made as to the category in which the work is entered. There is no multiple category consideration. Submissions that do not indicate a category will be deemed ineligible.
 
What methods of payment do you accept for submissions?
We accept Visa, MasterCard, American Express, checks drawn on U.S. banks, and money orders. DO NOT SEND CASH. Entry fees are non-refundable.
  

 
Attending the Literary Awards Festival
 
When is the Literary Awards Festival (LitFest) held?
LitFest is usually held in November. A press release with the exact date and time is released each fall along with an announcement of the winners and finalists for that year’s competition.

May anyone attend LitFest?
Absolutely. Anyone is welcome to purchase a ticket.

Do PEN Center USA members receive a discount on tickets for LitFest?
Yes. PEN Center USA members are eligible for a discount on ticket prices.
 
Do published authors receive a discount on tickets for LitFest?
Only authors who are Professional Members of PEN Center USA before purchasing their tickets may receive a discount.
 
What is the procedure for purchasing a ticket to LitFest?
Once ticketing is open, you may use our 
online order form and pay through PayPal, or you may download the form and mail it in. Call (323) 424-4939 x1003
 or contact awards@penusa.org for more information.
 
 
I would like to purchase ad space in the Tribute Book for LitFest. Whom do I contact?
Please contact Stacy at PEN Center USA at (323) 424-4939 x1003 or 
awards@penusa.org.
 
I not attend LitFest but I would like to make a donation to PEN Center USA. Whom do I contact?
Please contact Stacy at PEN Center USA at (323) 424-4939 x1003 or 
awards@penusa.org.