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.

Featuring Patti Smith, Darnella Frazier, Marie Yovanovitch, Frank Bennack Jr., Spike Lee, Bono, Emma Thompson, Madeleine Albright, and JUST ANNOUNCED: former U.S. President Barack Obama. All registrants receive a free Audible credit.

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

Register for the 2020 PEN America Virtual Gala

As part of this year’s virtual celebration, former U.S. President Barack Obama will receive PEN America’s Voice of Influence Award and sit down for an author-to-author interview with Ron Chernow.

100% of every dollar raised goes directly to support PEN America’s mission: to celebrate free expression and defend the liberties that make it possible. For more information, contact Caelan at [email protected].

2020 Honorees

Barack Obama, Voice of Influence Award

Barack Obama, Voice of Influence Award

Obama served as the 44th president of the United States...
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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. . .
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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. . .
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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. . .
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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. . .
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Darnella Frazier, PEN/Benenson Courage Award

Darnella Frazier, PEN/Benenson Courage Award

Frazier is the quick-thinking and dauntless young woman who filmed the murder of George Floyd.
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Presenters

Madeleine Albright

Madeleine Albright

Joan Baez

Joan Baez

Bono

Bono

Ron Chernow

Ron Chernow

Steven J. Corwin

Steven J. Corwin

Spike Lee

Spike Lee

Soledad O’Brien

Soledad O’Brien

Steve Swartz

Steve Swartz

Emma Thompson

Emma Thompson

Host

Franklin Leonard headshot

Franklin Leonard
Film executive, founder of The Black List, and PEN America Trustee

Sponsors

DIAMOND
Hearst logoNew York-Presbyterian logoJamie Wolf

GOLD
Penguin Random House • Frank A. Bennack Jr

AWARD UNDERWRITERS
Audible, Inc. • Pamela and Peter Barbey • Lawrence B. and Elyse Benenson

LEADERSHIP
Roxanne Donovan and Tom Scarangello • Facebook • Elizabeth Hemmerdinger and Alix L.L. Ritchie • Margaret Munzer Loeb • The Muriel Pollia Foundation • Anya Salama and Albert I. Salama • Andrew Solomon and John Habich Solomon

BENEFACTOR
Colette and Daniel Bennett • Kimberly Blank • Jill Braufman and Daniel Nir • Murat and Beth Bugdaycay • Bridget Colman • John Chao • Discovery, Inc. • Embrey Family Foundation • Sarah, Sheree, and Jerry Friedman • Google • Hachette Book Group • Holly Peterson Foundation • Tracy Higgins and James Leitner • Zachary Karabell • Sean and Mary Kelly • Sandra Leong • Alexandra Munroe • Gwyneth Paltrow and Brad Falchuk • Arnold & Porter • Aidan Donnelley Rowley • Seedlings Foundation • Katrina vanden Heuvel • Suzy Wahba • Robie Harris • Marvin & Keri Putnam • Latham & Watkins

PATRON
Mila Atmos • Ted and Helen Boustrous • Amanda Bennett • Leslie Belzberg • Abigail E. Disney • Jeanmarie and William Fenrich • Patricia Fili-Krushel • Miranda Heller • Elizabeth R. Koch • Macmillan Publishers • The Marc Haas Foundation • Evangeline Morphos • The New Yorker • Katia and Christian Oberbeck • ReaderLink • Chip Rosenbloom • Simon & Schuster • Sydney and Stanley S. Shuman • WarnerMedia • Waterman Interests, LLC

FRIEND
Tom Healy and Fred P. Hochberg • Nancy Rubin • Scholastic, Inc. • TIME Magazine  

Gala Committee Co-Chairs
Markus Dohle • Roxanne Donovan • Sean Kelly • Anya Salama • Jamie Wolf

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 Donnelley Rowley • Patricia Duff • Jeanmarie Fenrich • Sheree and Jerry Friedman • Judith Greenberg • Miranda Heller • 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 • Marvin Putnam • Theresa Rebeck • Alix L.L. Ritchie • Andrew Solomon • Katrina vanden Heuvel • Suzy Wahba • Jamie Wolf