PEN America will award Stephen King with the 2018 PEN America Literary Service Award at its annual Literary Gala on May 22 at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. Carolyn Reidy, president and CEO of Simon & Schuster, will be recognized as the annual ceremony's Publisher Honoree.
Calling King "an impassioned advocate of freedom of expression, literacy, and access to information," PEN cited the author's Haven Foundation, which provides support to writers and other freelancers in the arts who have suffered personal hardships, as well as his "outspoken defense against encroachments on free speech," as part of King's credentials for the prize. King's publisher, Scribner, will release his next novel, The Outsider, on May 22, the day of the PEN America award presentation.
"No stranger to the dark side, Stephen King has inspired us to stand up to sinister forces through his rich prose, his generous philanthropy, and his outspoken defense of free expression," Andrew Solomon, president of PEN America, said in a statement.
Previous Literary Service Award winners include Stephen Sondheim, J.K. Rowling, Tom Stoppard, Salman Rushdie,Toni Morrison, and Margaret Atwood.
Reidy marked 10 years as the head of Simon & Schuster this month, and PEN cited Reidy’s "commitment to diversity," in addition to her service on the boards of directors of the Association of American Publishers and the National Book Foundation—as well as her former position as a board member of Literacy Partners—as reasons for her award.
"The only woman among the top ranks of publishing CEOs, Carolyn Reidy is an icon for a generation of women in the publishing industry, known for her passion, professionalism, forcefulness, and business acumen," PEN America executive director Suzanne Nossel said in a statement.
The PEN America Literary Gala will also celebrate the recipients of two additional awards, the PEN/Barbey Freedom to Write Award and the PEN/Toni and James C. Goodale Freedom of Expression Courage Award. The winners of those awards will be announced at a later date.