NEW YORK—BookExpo America announced today that it will honor PEN America with the seventh annual Industry Ambassador Award, to be presented on June 1, 2017, at the book industry’s annual trade show taking place at the Javits Center in New York.

The Industry Ambassador Award recognizes major innovators and creative leaders in the field that make the book industry better for all constituents. Past recipients of the award include the Children’s Book Council, John Ingram of Ingram Content Group, and best-selling author James Patterson.

“As an organization committed to the defense of free expression, PEN America is a particularly timely and deserving honoree for this year’s Industry Ambassador Award,” said Brien McDonald, Event Director of BookExpo. “PEN America has built on its nearly 100-year history of supporting imperiled writers worldwide to position itself as a vital thought leader, uncompromising advocate, and fearless defender in the face of new assaults on creative freedom and the freedom to write.”

An organization of more than 4,700 writers and members of the literary community, PEN America launched the #LouderTogether campaign in early 2017 to address new threats to expression in the United States, including near-daily attacks on the press, emboldened hate speech, and threats to end federal funding for the arts and humanities, and recently opened a Washington, D.C., office to enable sustained engagement on these challenges at home. PEN America is at the forefront of the national conversation surrounding free speech on American college campuses and the defense of the truth as a bedrock of national discourse. Through its signature PEN World Voices Festival, the United States’ only international literary festival, PEN America also works to amplify marginalized voices—including people of color, the LGBT community, undocumented immigrants, and incarcerated people— and to foster dialogue across boundaries.

“The book industry is being buffeted by the same forces—polarization, political correctness, and the rise of vitriol—that are tearing at the fabric of our national discourse,” said PEN America Executive Director Suzanne Nossel. “The industry’s readiness to stand as a force for open dialogue and the free exchange of ideas is vital and PEN America is proud to be honored by our colleagues and friends at this critical moment in the fight to defend free expression.”

Nossel will accept the award on Thursday at “The First Amendment Resistance,” a ground-breaking BookExpo panel hosted by PEN America that will tackle head-on the role of the publishing industry in upholding free speech and giving a platform to controversial writers and widely criticized views. Panelists include video game developer Zoë Quinn, who unintentionally became a central figure in the Gamergate controversy in 2014; activist and Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse CullorsNew York Post columnist and editor of Commentary magazine John Podhoretz; and author and lawyer Scott Turow.

PEN America will also have a booth at BookExpo where attendees can learn about threats to writers worldwide and register to join PEN America’s membership of authors, journalists, editors, and other writing professionals and the readers they serve.

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BookExpo, North America’s largest gathering of book industry professionals from around the globe, and BookCon, the consumer extension of the show, combine to make the ultimate event destination for the publishing industry and booklovers worldwide. BookExpo is widely known as the leading business event for publishers, booksellers, librarians, digital content creators, traditional and self-published authors, media, bloggers, rights professionals, and movie and television executives who attend to discover new voices, learn about trends shaping the book industry, and network with those who have a passion for books and reading. To register or for more information, please visit bookexpoamerica.com

PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect open expression in the United States and worldwide. We champion the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world.  Our mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible. To learn more, visit pen.org

CONTACT
Brien McDonald, BookExpo: bmcdonald@reedexpo.com, +1 203.840.5483
Sarah Edkins, PEN America: sedkins@pen.org, +1 646.779.4830