(New York, NY) — PEN America today announced that Audible, the world’s largest producer and provider of original spoken-word entertainment and audiobooks, will support the organization’s annual Literary Service Award, which this year will go to renowned writer and performer Patti Smith. In announcing Audible’s support, PEN America also said it would rename the award the PEN/Audible Literary Service Award starting this year and continuing into 2021.

Prior winners of the prize include Bob Woodward, Stephen King, Stephen Sondheim, J.K. Rowling, Tom Stoppard, Salman Rushdie, Margaret Atwood, and Toni Morrison, among other luminaries.

“We’re so pleased that Audible has agreed to support our marquee prize for a writer whose work has had an outsized impact on readers around the world,” said Deborah Wilson, chief development officer at PEN America. “Audible is a perfect partner in that sense, an organization also devoted to spreading the power of the written and indeed spoken word. We’re so pleased that they are making this crucial investment in promoting the freedom to write.”

“PEN America is fiercely committed to free expression and advocating for the rights of journalists, authors, and their audiences,” said Rachel Ghiazza, senior vice president of content and acquisition for Audible. “Throughout our history, Audible has been proud to connect listeners to a diverse spectrum of important voices and powerful storytellers. We’re proud to partner with PEN America as they honor Patti Smith with the PEN/Audible Literary Service Award. She is one of the greatest storytellers of her generation. We’re privileged to have worked with Patti on her own unforgettable Audible Original last year, and delighted that she is this year’s award recipient.”

This year’s PEN/Audible Literary Service Award will be bestowed at the organization’s annual New York City Literary Gala on May 19.