2020 PEN America Gala Banner

The PEN America Gala will merge our annual New York Literary Gala and Los Angeles LitFest Gala into one national, virtual celebration on December 8. Our digital program will be a crucial moment for our community to stand together in recognition of our deserving Honorees and to fortify our mission at a time of extraordinary needs and demands. The fight for creative expression is so important, now more than ever, and we hope you can join us for a unique, one-night-only event to toast to human rights and the power of words.

Tuesday, December 8, 2020
6:30pm ET / 3:30pm PT: VIP Virtual Reception
7:00pm–8:00pm ET / 4:00pm–5:00pm PT: Gala Livestream

100% of every dollar raised goes directly to support PEN America’s mission: to defend free expression and celebrate the liberties that make it possible.

Register for the 2020 PEN America Gala

Registration is free and open to the public. We hope you’ll join us for this special PEN America celebration as the year comes to an end.

For more information on the 2020 PEN America Gala, please contact Caelan Fortes, Development Manager, at [email protected].

2020 Honorees

Frank A. Bennack Jr., Corporate Honoree

Frank A. Bennack Jr., Corporate Honoree

Bennack Jr. is executive vice chairman of Hearst, one of the nation’s largest private companies engaged in a broad range of publishing, broadcasting, cable networking, and diversified media and information activities.
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Patti Smith, PEN/Audible Literary Service Award

Patti Smith, PEN/Audible Literary Service Award

Smith is a writer, performer, and visual artist. She gained recognition in the 1970s for her revolutionary merging of poetry and rock. She has release twelve albums, including Horses, which has been hailed as one of the top one hundred albums of all time by Rolling Stone.
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Xu Zhiyong, PEN/Barbey Freedom to Write Award

Xu Zhiyong, PEN/Barbey Freedom to Write Award

Xu, an established organizer and lawyer, has been an integral member of China’s most important civil rights movements over the last 20 years. He was detained in February 2020 for writing an essay that critiqued the leadership of China’s president Xi Jinping, including his handling of the COVID-19 outbreak.
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Marie Yovanovitch, PEN/Benenson Courage Award

Marie Yovanovitch, PEN/Benenson Courage Award

Yovanovitch is a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. A career member of the Senior Foreign Service, Yovanovitch earned the Senior Foreign Service Performance Award eight times and the State Department’s Superior Honor Award on nine occasions.
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Gala Committee Co-Chairs
Markus Dohle • Roxanne Donovan • Sean Kelly • Anya Salama

Gala Committee
Dennis Abboud • Mila Atmos • Pamela and Peter Barbey • Elyse and Lawrence B. Benenson • Colette and Daniel Bennett • Kimberly Morgan Blank • Jennifer Finney Boylan • Beth Bugdaycay • Bridget Colman • Aidan Donnelly Rowley • Patricia Duff • Jeanmarie Fenrich • Sheree and Jerry Friedman • Judith Greenberg • Elizabeth Hemmerdinger • Tracy Higgins • Zachary Karabell • Cindi Leive • Sandra Leong • Margaret Munzer Loeb • Yvonne Marsh • Jay McInerney • Alexandra Munroe •
Claire Paull • Holly Peterson • Michael Pietsch • Theresa Rebeck • Alix L.L. Ritchie • Andrew Solomon • Katrina vanden Heuvel • Suzy Wahba

Watch Last Year’s Gala

2019 Literary Gala Master of Ceremonies & Honorees

Master of Ceremonies
John Oliver

PEN Courage Award
Anita Hill

Publisher Honoree
Richard Robinson
Chairman and CEO, Scholastic

PEN/Barbey Freedom to Write Award
Nouf Abdulaziz, Loujain Al-Hathloul, and Eman Al-Nafjan

Literary Service Award
Bob Woodward