Prizes and scholarships

PEN Nabokov Prize

The PEN/Nabokov Award for Achievement in International Literature is a lifetime award, selected annually by a panel chosen by PEN American Center, for a living author whose body of work, either written in or translated into English, is of enduring originality and consummate craftsmanship. The winner receives a $50,000 prize, funded by the Vladimir Nabokov Literary Foundation.

2017 award: Adonis
2018 award: Edna O'Brien

In its initial form the Prize was set up by PEN American Center and Dmitri Nabokov in 2000, was biennial, worth $20,000, and awarded to writers, principally novelists, "whose works evoke to some measure Nabokov's brilliant versatility and commitment to literature as a search for the deepest truth and the highest pleasure— what Nabokov called the 'indescribable tingle of the spine'" (to cite a no longer valid PEN American Center link). Under its initial terms, it was awarded in 2000 to William H. Gass, in 2002 to Mario Vargas Llosa, in 2004 to Mavis Gallant, in 2006 to Philip Roth, and in 2008 to Cynthia Ozick. The award then lapsed until it was revived under the new terms above in 2016.



Prizes for Nabokov scholars

Vladimir Nabokov Literary Foundation Prizes

The following prizes will be funded from 2018 by the Vladimir Nabokov Literary Foundation. The selection, administration and awarding of the prizes is under the care of the International Vladimir Nabokov Society.


Best Undergraduate Student Essay on Nabokov

Awarded annually. Value $200. Professors should nominate exceptional student essays by contacting the Secretary of the IVNS (for 2018-2021, Dana Dragunoiu).


The Kuzmanovich Family Prize for Best PhD dissertation on Nabokov

Awarded annually for a dissertation in English, French, or Russian devoted entirely to Nabokov.

First award:

2017 Award: Constantine Muravnik (excerpt)

From 2018, value $1500. In 2017 it was funded by the Kuzmanovich family, to honor all members of the Kuzmanovich family who saw Nabokov Studies as a worthwhile cause; and they will continue to fund the prize every fifth year.

Candidates who have submitted their PhD and had it examined, and who wish to be considered, should contact the Secretary of the IVNS (for 2018-2021, Dana Dragunoiu). 


The Samuel Schuman Prize for the best first book on Nabokov honors one of the founding members of the Nabokov Society and the greatest benefactor to Nabokov Studies during its lean years.

2017 Award: Julia Trubikhina

From 2018, awarded annually, value $1500. Authors who wish their book to be considered should contact the Secretary of the IVNS  (for 2018-2021, Dana Dragunoiu).


Prize for Best PhD dissertation on Nabokov and others

Awarded annually for Best PhD on Nabokov and other writers in English, French, or Russian. To be eligible, at least one third of the dissertation must focus on Nabokov. Value $1500. Candidates who have submitted their PhD and had it examined, and who wish to be considered, should contact the Secretary of the IVNS  (for 2018-2021, Dana Dragunoiu).


Prize for best essay on Nabokov

Awarded annually. Authors may contact the editor of The Nabokovian, Dana Dragunoiu, to draw attention to their work (as well as adding it to the Bibliography, once the Bibliography section is fully under way). Value $500.


The Brian Boyd Prize for Best Second Book on Nabokov 

Awarded triennually for a book in English, French, or Russian, to encourage substantial sustained contributions to Nabokov. Value $1000. 


Nabokov Studies Prizes

Before prize funding by the Vladimir Nabokov Literary Foundation became available in 2018, there were two biennial Nabokov Studies prizes and one quinquennial.  The Samuel Schuman Prize and the Kuzmanovich Family Prize have been taken over by the VNLF (see above) under changed terms.

The Donald Barton Johnson Prize for the best essay by a junior scholar published in Nabokov Studies honors  the founding editor of Nabokov Studies. The prize is voted on by a rotating subset of the Nabokov Studies Editorial Board and members of the Davidson College Faculty.  The winner is chosen with a view to expanding the intellectual challenge and the range of Nabokov studies as well as deepening the human and professional connections among Nabokov scholars.

2013 Award: Tommy Karshan 

2015 Award: Eric Goldman

2017 Award: Deborah A. Martinsen  



Nabokov Online Journal Prizes

NOJ Prize for Best Contribution to Nabokov studies. Biannual, after first award.

2012 (for 2000-2011). Brian Boyd, Nabokov's Ada: The Place of Consciousness (2nd rev. ed., 2001).



Vladimir Nabokov Society Travel Scholarships

Up to five travel scholarships of $500 will be awarded annually to younger scholars presenting at the annual conference supported by the IVNS. More details to be announced when the Call for Papers is issued.