Prizes, scholarships, and grants

Prizes, scholarships, and grants for Nabokov students, scholars, and writers

International Vladimir Nabokov Society Prizes

The International Vladimir Nabokov Society is delighted to announce a new group of prizes, generously funded by the Vladimir Nabokov Literary Foundation. Applications are encouraged for all eligible work.

Administration and Funding: These prizes are administered, selected, and awarded by the International Vladimir Nabokov Society, and funded by the Vladimir Nabokov Literary Foundation. In all cases they will be awarded only where there is work of sufficient merit.

Timing: Prizes awarded in 2019 will be for work either submitted (in the case of undergraduate and postgraduate essays, theses and chapters), examined and accepted (in the case of the best dissertation prize) or published (in the case of the other prizes) in the calendar year 2018, except for the Brian Boyd Prize, which will be for work published between January 1, 2016 and December 31, 2018. 

Language: Work can in principle be considered in any language. However, the judges have to be able to judge all entries fairly against one another; thus the only language in which contributions can be guaranteed consideration is English. If the judges have sufficient linguistic competence, they can judge work in other languages, and if they wish, commission expert reviewers in that language and consult with them.

Submission: All academic work and publications to be considered for prizes need to have reached the judges’ attention by April 30. Please contact the President and Vice-President of the IVNS, Thomas Karshan and Duncan White, 

Announcement: The prizes will  be announced in October 2019 on this website and on Nabokv-L, the Nabokov listserv.


Ellen Pifer Prize for Best Undergraduate Student Essay on Nabokov

Awarded annually for an undergraduate essay of any length. Value $200. The student's advisor must sign an endorsement. Professors should nominate exceptional student essays by contacting the President and Vice-President of the IVNS, Thomas Karshan and Duncan White,

Named in honor of American Nabokov scholar Ellen Pifer.


Dieter E. Zimmer Prize for Best Postgraduate Work on Nabokov

Awarded annually, to the best work on Nabokov done at master’s level, or as coursework towards a master’s or a PhD, or to a chapter of a PhD dissertation. Value $1500.

Named in honor of German Nabokov scholar, translator, and editor Dieter E. Zimmer.

Please contact the President and Vice-President of the IVNS, Thomas Karshan and Duncan White,


Zoran Kuzmanovich Prize for Best PhD Dissertation on Nabokov

Awarded annually for the best dissertation predominantly (at least 50%) on Nabokov. Value $1500.

This prize honors the support given to young scholars by  American Nabokov scholar Zoran Kuzmanovich through his editorial work at Nabokov Studies, at MLA conferences, and in other ways, including establishing and funding the original PhD prize as the Kuzmanovich Family Prize. Please contact the President and Vice-President of the IVNS, Thomas Karshan and Duncan White,

First award:

2017 Award: Constantine Muravnik, Nabokov's Philosophy of Art (excerpt)


Gennady Barabtarlo Best Essay Prize

Awarded annually for the best academic article or book chapter on Nabokov. Value $500.

Named in honor of Russian-American Nabokov scholar and editor, Gennady Barabtarlo

Please contact the President and Vice-President of the IVNS, Thomas Karshan and Duncan White,


Jane Grayson Best First Book Prize

Awarded annually for a first book that makes a significant contribution to Nabokov studies. Value $1500. 

Named in honor of British Nabokov scholar, Jane Grayson.

Please contact the President and Vice-President of the IVNS, Thomas Karshan and Duncan White,

First award of the Nabokov First Book Prize (as the biennial Samuel Schuman Prize, funded by the Kuzmanovich Family trust):

2017 Award (for books 2015-16): Julia Trubikhina, The Translator's Doubts: Nabokov and the Ambiguity of Translation


Brian Boyd Prize for Best Second Book on Nabokov 

Awarded every three years for a second book, at least 50% on Nabokov), by someone who has already published a book predominantly on Nabokov. Value $1000. 

Named in honor of New Zealand Nabokov scholar, Brian Boyd.

Please contact the President and Vice-President of the IVNS, Thomas Karshan and Duncan White,


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.


Nabokov Studies Prize

This prize is generously funded by Zoran Kuzmanovich, the editor of Nabokov Studies.  

The Donald Barton Johnson Prize 

For the best essay 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: Thomas Karshan 

2015 Award: Eric Goldman

2017 Award: Deborah A. Martinsen  


Nabokov Online Journal Prizes

NOJ Prize for Best Contribution to Nabokov studies. Biennial, after first award. Value $600. Selected by popular vote.

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

2013 Stephen H. Blackwell, The Quill and the Scalpel: Nabokov's Art and the Worlds of Science (2009). 


NOJ Award for the Best Student Essay on Nabokov. Annual. Value $300. 


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
2019 award: Sandra Cisneros

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.