At this year's PEN America Literary Gala, the not-for-profit free speech and literary advocacy organization will honor "defenders of truth" Bob Woodward and Richard Robinson. Comedian and Last Week Tonight creator and host John Oliver will serve as master of ceremonies at the event, to be held on Tuesday, May 21 at the American Museum of Natural History.
Woodward, the longtime investigative journalist working primarily with the Washington Post who covered the inner workings of the Nixon administration as well as the Watergate scandal and whose latest work, Fear: Trump in the White House, became a 2018 bestseller, will receive the PEN America Literary Service Award.
“Throughout his decades-long career and innumerable political bombshells that he has revealed, Bob Woodward’s scrupulous reporting and meticulous sourcing have never been convincingly impugned,” PEN America CEO Suzanne Nossel said in a statement. “Woodward has set the standard for dogged and objective reporting and gripping storytelling. His work has helped fortify American democracy for decades and reminds us of the potency of truth and the essential role of a free and fearless press at a time when these values are under attack in Washington and around the world.”
Robinson, CEO and chairman of Scholastic, will be this year's Publishing Honoree. In a statement on the decision, PEN America president Jennifer Egan said: “At a time of sharp polarization and fragmented media consumption habits, Scholastic stands out as a beacon of credible, verified nonfiction and great books that are trusted and treasured by teachers and students around the world, and across race, ethnicity, and political persuasion. Richard Robinson has done a remarkable job of forging Scholastic’s essential role as a lingua franca of American civic and literary education.”
As the event approaches, PEN America will announce the winners of other awards presented at the gala, including the PEN/Barbey Freedom to Write Award, which honors writers who have been imprisoned for their work, and the PEN/Toni and James C. Goodale Freedom of Expression Courage Award, which celebrates "dauntless exercises of free expression."