2016 PEN Literary Gala & Free Expression Awards, NYC


When: Monday, May 16, 2016 @ 6:30PM

Hot Spot: The American Museum of Natural History, NYC

Deets: On Monday, May 16, New York’s literati will gather at the PEN America Literary Gala at the American Museum of Natural History to honor fierce opponents of censorship around the globe. As violence from Mexico to Russia and China to France this year has forced many to consider compromising democratic values in a shortsighted bargain for security, more and more writers—including honorees J.K. Rowling and Michael Pietsch—have joined PEN in defending freedom of expression and the free flow of ideas.

Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling will receive the 2016 PEN/Allen Foundation Literary Service Award for the extraordinary inspiration her books have provided to generations of readers and writers worldwide. Since her rise from single mother to literary superstar, J.K. Rowling has used her talents and stature as a writer to fight inequality on both a local and global level. Herself the frequent object of censorship in schools and libraries across the globe, as well as online targeting, Rowling has emerged as a vocal proponent of free expression and access to literature and ideas for children, as well as incarcerated people, the learning-disabled, and women and girls worldwide.

PEN will also honor Hachette Book Group CEO Michael Pietsch for his leadership in the fight against censorship by both new and traditional actors.

PEN America will present the 2016 PEN/Toni and James C. Goodale Freedom of Expression Courage Award to LeeAnne Walters and Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha of Flint, Michigan, at the annual PEN Literary Gala on May 16 at the American Museum of Natural History in New York.

Walters and Dr. Hanna-Attisha were two essential voices in exposing the lead poisoning of Flint¹s water supply, calling out the grave damage to public health in a majority black community where about 40 percent of the population lives in poverty.

The PEN/Toni and James C. Goodale Award was established in 2014 to honor exceptional acts of courage in the exercise of freedom of expression. In 2015, the award was presented to the surviving staff of French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, sparking a global public debate on the limits of satire and free expression.

Who You May Spot: J.K. Rowling, Michael Pietsch, LeeAnne Walters, Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha

Hint For The Average Socialite: Reserve a table here.

What's Trending: @PENamerican @jk_rowling @HachetteUS #JusticeForFlint