Beverly Hills, CA – PEN America announced today that internationally acclaimed songwriter Diane Warren will receive the Artistic Expression Award at the organization’s 2019 LitFest Gala in Los Angeles. Among the most successful contemporary songwriters of our time, Warren has collaborated with legendary artists including Whitney Houston, Cher, Aerosmith, Celine Dion, Aretha Franklin, Mariah Carey, Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, and Adele. Her powerful, message-driven songs like “Stand Up For Something” and “I’ll Fight” have inspired millions to speak out about their beliefs and have earned her worldwide recognition, including 10 Academy Award® nominations, a Grammy Award, and a Golden Globe Award, among many other honors. The 2019 LitFest Gala will take place on November 1, 2019, at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel.

“I am always moved when I hear my songs being used to empower and motivate, including such recent songs as ‘Til It Happens to You,’ ‘Stand Up For Something,’ ‘I’ll Fight,’ and ‘I’m Standing with You,’” said Warren. “I am honored to accept the 2019 Artist Expression Award from PEN America at this year’s LitFest Gala, and to be included among such incredible past honorees.”

“Diane Warren is one of the most prolific songwriters of our time, and PEN America is thrilled to be recognizing her considerable talents at this year’s LitFest Gala. Her work has always taken an activist’s tone, even more so in recent years,” said Michelle Franke, Executive Director of PEN America’s Los Angeles office. “Her songs have transcended the films in which they appear to take on meanings of their own, inspiring generations to be vocal about their beliefs, with Warren’s words offering guidance and reassurance. Her passion for voice, story, and her commitment to justice make Diane a worthy recipient of our Artistic Expression Award.”

Now in its 29th year, PEN America’s LitFest Gala is a celebration of free expression and the literary arts. Featuring impassioned tributes, conversation, and levity, the event brings together an esteemed audience of authors, screenwriters, producers, showrunners, executives, philanthropists, actors, and devotees of the written word who share a commitment to defending creative freedom and expression in Los Angeles and around the world. Money raised from the Gala fuels advocacy for writers, journalists, and artists threatened or imprisoned worldwide; landmark research addressing critical free speech issues; and the advancement of literary excellence and cross-cultural exchanges, including the World Voices Festival of International Literature, PEN America’s Literary Awards, and fellowship and grants programs. Recently honored luminaries and participants include Ai Weiwei, Marti Noxon & Gillian Flynn, Barry Jenkins, Roxane Gay, Isabel Allende, Jose Antonio Vargas, Margaret Atwood, Janet Mock, Norman Lear, Guillermo del Toro, Amber Tamblyn, Aisha Tyler, Amy Poehler, and Cecile Richards.

Diane Warren is one of the most prolific and successful contemporary songwriters of our time. She is the sole owner of her publishing company Realsongs. Her songs have been featured in more than 100 motion pictures, resulting in 10 Academy Award® nominations. Warren most recently received her 10th Oscar nomination for the original song “I’ll Fight” for the 2018 documentary feature RBG, about Ruth Bader Ginsburg, co-produced by Storyville Films and CNN Films. The song is performed by Jennifer Hudson. “I’ll Fight” was nominated for a Critics’ Choice Award for Best Song. She most recently wrote “I’m Standing With You” performed by Chrissy Metz for Breakthrough and “Forward Motion” performed by Daya for Late Night.

Warren has been nominated for 15 Grammys, and received a Grammy for the song “Because You Loved Me.” She was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2001. She received her ninth Oscar nomination for the original song “Stand Up For Something” with music by Warren and lyrics by Warren and Common for the 2017 film Marshall. The song is performed by Andra Day, featuring Common. Warren and Common also received a Grammy Award nomination for “Stand Up For Something” and the song was nominated for a Critics’ Choice Award for Best Song.

Warren continues to work with today’s most popular artists, including Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, Adele, Justin Bieber, Christina Aguilera, Snoop Dogg, Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Mary J. Blige, Jennifer Hudson, Paloma Faith, Andra Day, Demi Lovato, LeAnn Rimes, Common, Janelle Monae, Missy Elliott, Zendaya, and Jason Derulo. Throughout her career she has written for iconic artists such as Whitney Houston, Cher, Aerosmith, Celine Dion, Aretha Franklin, Mariah Carey, and many more.


PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect open expression in the United States and worldwide. Its mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible.

For more information on the PEN America’s 2019 LitFest Gala, please visit


Elyse Weissman

Stephen Fee
PEN America, Director of Communications