(NEW YORK)—PEN America presents the 2023 PEN America Literary Awards, a momentous celebration of the past year’s best writing, March 2 at The Town Hall in New York City. Acclaimed actor, author, and former Obama White House aide Kal Penn hosts the event, which features live music, dramatic readings, and memorable acceptance speeches and confers over $350,000 in awards. The red carpet opens at 6pm, followed by the ceremony at 8pm.

In addition to the 11 book prizes announced from the stage, PEN America has revealed the winners of the event’s three career-achievement awards. Tina Fey, nine-time Emmy Award winner and one of the greatest comedy writers of her generation, will receive the 2023 PEN/Mike Nichols Writing for Performance Award. Short story writer, novelist, poet, and essayist Vinod Kumar Shukla, considered one of the greatest contemporary writers in the Hindi language, will be celebrated with the 2023 PEN/Nabokov Award for Achievement in International Literature. Acclaimed playwright Erika Dickerson-Despenza will receive the 2023 PEN/Laura Pels International Foundation for Theater Award. Award presenters include Jad Abumrad, Mahogany L. Browne, Rachel Dratch, Robert Jones, Jr., Ari Melber, Molly Ringwald, Geena Rocero, and others; and the evening’s performers include Broadway’s Bobby Conte, Liisi LaFontaine, and Solea Pfieffer, with musical direction by Ulysses Owens, Jr.


 The 2023 PEN America Literary Awards


Host: Kal Penn

PEN America Leadership: Ayad Akhtar, President; Clarisse Rosaz Shariyf, Chief Program Officer, Literary Programs

Career-Achievement Award Winners: Erika Dickerson-Despenza, Tina Fey, Vinod Kumar Shukla (not in attendance)

Book Award Finalists: Chris Abani, Sindya Bhanoo, Dan Charnas, Lisa Hsiao Chen, Robin Coste Lewis, Ramona Emerson, Percival Everett, Eve Fairbanks, Hafizah Augustus Geter, Meron Hadero, Kelly Lytle Hernandez, Peter Orner, Roger Reeves, Sofia Samatar, Jasmine Sawers,  David Sedaris, Alyssa Songsiridej, Morgan Thomas, Judith Thurman, Paul Tran, Florence Williams, Toya Wolfe, Ryan Lee Wong,, and more. Full list of finalists here.

Presenters: Jad Abumrad, Mahogany L. Browne, Rachel Dratch, Robert Jones, Jr., Ari Melber, Molly Ringwald, Geena Rocero, and more

Performers: Bobby Conte, Liisi LaFontaine, and Solea Pfieffer, and Ulysses Owens, Jr.


Thursday, March 2
            Red carpet media call time: 5:45pm
            Red carpet: 6-8pm
            Ceremony: 8-10pm


The Town Hall (123 West 43rd Street, between 6th and 7th Aves)
            Red carpet will be setup on the sidewalk in front of The Town Hall


Suzanne Trimel: 201.247.5057, [email protected] 

Nora Lyons: 914.262.1353, [email protected]

Blake Zidell: 917.572.2493, [email protected]

Adriana Leshko: 917.294.0544, [email protected]

About PEN America

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. Learn more at