Smith, Bennack Jr. to Be Honored at PEN Gala

PEN America has named Patti Smith as the recipient of the 2020 PEN America Literary Service Award, to be conferred upon the writer and performer at this year’s PEN America Literary Gala, to be held at the American Museum of Natural History on May 19 in New York. PEN America is recognizing Smith for her "prolific and multifaceted career, across which she has written arrestingly lucid memoirs and poetry; paired vital literary and raw punk sensibilities in her music; and, through it all, demonstrated an unflinching determination to protest injustice and speak truth."

In addition, Frank A. Bennack Jr., executive vice-chairman and former CEO of Hearst, has been named the Gala’s Corporate Honoree, in recognition of "his visionary leadership of the diversified media, information, and services company and his steadfast support of PEN America." As the Gala approaches, PEN America will announce the 2020 winners of the other awards presented at the event: the PEN/Barbey Freedom to Write Award, which honors writers who have been imprisoned for their work, and the PEN/Benenson Courage Award, which celebrates dauntless exercises of free expression. 

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