The 2019 PEN America Literary Service Award will be given to Bob Woodward, The Washington Post editor known most recently for “Fear: Trump in the White House,” one of the biggest political books of 2018 with nearly two million copies sold.

“Woodward has set the standard for dogged and objective reporting and gripping storytelling,” said Suzanne Nossel, the chief executive officer of PEN America, in a statement. “His work has helped fortify American democracy for decades.”

Woodward played a central role in bringing to light Richard Nixon’s role during the Watergate scandal through his reporting for The Washington Post and wrote a number of books on the subject, including “All the President’s Men: The Greatest Reporting Story of All Time,” written with Carl Bernstein. He pioneered in the use of anonymous sources, which allowed him to report on details that might not otherwise have become public. He has also tackled a number of other presidents including George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.

The PEN America Literary Gala, which will be held at the American Museum of Natural History in New York on May 21, will also recognize Scholastic chief executive officer Richard Robinson, who has led the company for more than 40 years. “Scholastic has informed the next generation and inspired them to be empathetic, engaged citizens,” read PEN America’s statement.


Last year, Stephen King received the Service Award, and past winners have included Margaret Atwood, Toni Morrison and J.K. Rowling.

Two other award recipients will be announced in the coming months, including for the PEN/Barbey Freedom to Write Award, which will honor a writer or artist persecuted for their work, and the PEN/Toni and James C. Goodale Freedom of Expression Courage Award, which “celebrates dauntless exercises of free expression.” John Oliver of “Last Week Tonight” on HBO will host the event.