The 2018 PEN America Literary Service Award has been awarded to Stephen King, author of horror and suspense classics such as “It” and “The Shining.”

The award is meant for a critically acclaimed writer whose body of work “helps us understand and interpret the human condition,” according to a news release. Andrew Solomon, the president of PEN America, said Mr. King “has inspired us to stand up to sinister forces through his rich prose, his generous philanthropy and his outspoken defense of free expression.”

Mr. King has written more than 50 books, including “Under the Dome,” about a town in Maine suddenly separated from the world by an invisible force, which draws terror from human nature. The book also includes social commentary; Marilyn Stasio, a critic for The Times, wrote that it has “echoes of 9/11, Hurricane Katrina and Iraq that help to shape this small town’s view of the wider world.” Mr. King provides support to writers and artists who have suffered hardship through his Haven Foundation and is an outspoken advocate of free speech on Twitter and elsewhere, resulting in his being blocked by President Trump on the social media platform.

Mr. King will be honored with the award on May 22 at the American Museum of Natural History. His new novel, “The Outsider,” will also be published on that date.

Last year, Stephen Sondheim was the recipient of the service award; he became the first composer-lyricist to win. In 2016, J.K. Rowling received the award.

Carolyn Reidy, president and chief executive officer of Simon & Schuster, will also be honored as the publisher honoree at the gala. Suzanne Nossel, the executive director of PEN, called Ms. Reidy “an icon for a generation of women in the publishing industry.”