Tom Stoppard Cited by PEN for "Defense of Creative Freedom" | Playbill

News Tom Stoppard Cited by PEN for "Defense of Creative Freedom" The 2015 PEN American Center Literary Gala, celebrating freedom of expression, will honor Tony-winning playwright Tom Stoppard with the PEN/Allen Foundation Literary Service Award "for his extraordinary career as a dramatist and his abiding commitment to the defense of creative freedom worldwide."

The annual gala will be held May 5 at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.

Stoppard joins previous PEN/Allen Foundation Literary Service Award winners, including Salman Rushdie, Toni Morrison, Philip Roth, Edward Albee, Michael Ondaatje, Margaret Atwood, E.L. Doctorow and Gore Vidal.

“Stoppard is without peer among modern dramatists, using comedy, theatricality, and intimate stories to explore the deepest reaches of identity, ethics, and freedom,” said PEN president Andrew Solomon. “While his accomplishments as a playwright are universally acknowledged, we honor Stoppard not only for his literary genius, but also because he is a writer of conscience, courageously using his pen and his voice to speak out on behalf of those denied the freedoms that have helped make his own work possible.”

Paris-based satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo will be honored with the PEN/Toni and James C. Goodale Freedom of Expression Courage Award, to be received by staff member Jean-Baptiste Thoret, who arrived to work late Jan. 7, barely escaping the terrorist attack on the magazine's offices that killed eight of his co-workers and four others.

PEN will also present the PEN/Barbara Goldsmith Freedom to Write Award to a jailed writer, to be announced, and PEN American Center will pay tribute to Markus Dohle of Penguin Random House as its Publisher Honoree. Founded in 1922, PEN American Center is a community of 4,000 U.S. writers working to "bring down barriers to free expression worldwide. Its distinguished members carry on the achievements in literature and advancement of human rights of such past members as Langston Hughes, Arthur Miller, and Susan Sontag."

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