BEVERLY HILLS—PEN America announced today that My Favorite Murder creators and authors of the forthcoming book STAY SEXY AND DON’T GET MURDERED  Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark will host the PEN America 2018 LitFest Gala.  They join previously announced honorees, Academy Award Winning writer-director Barry Jenkins, who will receive the Award for Screenplay Excellence, globally lauded artist Ai Weiwei, who will receive the Artistic Expression Award, and PEN America Trustee Marvin Putnam, recipient of the Distinguished Leadership Award.  Additional honorees and participants will be announced soon.

“We’re thrilled to announce that writers, comedians, and podcasters, Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark will host the 2018 LitFest Gala,”  said Michelle Franke, Executive Director, PEN America in Los Angeles.  “By combining true crime, humor, and personal narrative, Karen and Georgia have helped audiences face their deepest fears with laughter. I can’t imagine a better resume for this year’s gala hosts.”

Known for her biting wit and musical prowess, Karen Kilgariff has been a staple in the comedy world for decades. As a performer, she has appeared on Mr. Show, The Book Group and Conan. She was the head writer for the first five years of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, then transitioned to scripted, writing for shows like Other Space, Portlandia, and Baskets. Her musical comedy album Live At The Bootleg was included in Vulture’s Top 9 of 2014 and in Stitcher’s Top 11 of 2014.

Georgia Hardstark has enjoyed a successful career as a food writer and Cooking Channel on-camera personality, which began with the invention of the farcical cocktail, The McNuggetini. She went on to co-host a travel/adventure/party show called Tripping Out with Alie & Georgia, and a regular gig on Cooking Channel’s #1 show, Unique Sweets. She capped that off as a repeat guest narrator on Comedy Central’s hit show Drunk History.

My Favorite Murder is the hit true crime comedy podcast hosted by Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark. Since its inception in early 2016, the show has broken download records and sparked an enthusiastic, interactive “Murderino” fan base who came out in droves the sold-out nationwide live show tours. A top 10 regular on iTunes’ comedy podcast chart, My Favorite Murder has been featured in Entertainment Weekly, The Atlantic, Nylonand Rolling Stone magazine. Aside from being avid true crime enthusiasts, Karen Kilgariff is a stand-up comedian and television writer and Georgia Hardstark is a writer and host for the Cooking Channel.

Now in its 28th year, PEN America’s LitFest Gala is a celebration of free expression and the literary arts. Each year, the event brings together impassioned tributes, conversation, and levity before an esteemed audience of authors, screenwriters, producers, showrunners, executives, philanthropists, actors, and devotees of the written word who share a commitment to the robust defense of creative freedom in Los Angeles and around the world. Proceeds from PEN America’s LitFest Gala support initiatives including: advocacy for writers, journalists, and artists threatened or imprisoned worldwide; landmark research that addresses critical free speech issues; and the advancement of literary excellence and cross-cultural exchanges through hallmark initiatives, including the World Voices Festival of International Literature, PEN America’s Literary Awards, and fellowship and grants programs. Recently honored luminaries and participants include 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.

For more information on the PEN America’s 2018 LitFest Gala, please visit https://pen.org/litfest-gala/

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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. pen.org

CONTACTS:

Elyse Weissman, SLATE PR: elyse@slate-pr.com

Tracey Kardash, Deputy Director of Development, PEN America: tkardash@pen.org

Michele Riggio, Director of Communications, PEN America: mriggio@pen.org