Bestselling author Barack Obama will receive the Voice of Influence award at the 2020 PEN American Gala. PEN America has bestowed the honor upon him in "recognition of how the former president’s writings throughout his career have traversed political, social, and ideological bounds and framed a self-reflective humanism that has marked his influence on public life."
“As an organization of writers, we have always seen President Obama not just as a leader, but as one of us: an author. His probing and evocative narratives helped introduce the world to his unique background, and the power of his life experience as a prompt toward a more pluralistic and encompassing society,” PEN America CEO Suzanne Nossel said.
“We are thrilled that on the occasion of the publication of A Promised Land, we will have the chance to honor President Obama with this award as part of the virtual edition of the best book party of the year: the PEN America gala. The former president and Ron Chernow will discuss the freedom to write, a liberty that faces unprecedented challenges amid rising authoritarianism that parlays disinformation and distrust to impair the very function of free speech as a catalyst for revealing the truth and driving forward societal progress.”
After receiving the award virtually, the former U.S. Senator will sit down with Ron Chernow of PEN America to discuss his new book, A Promised Land. The two will discuss his presidency, his marriage and much more.
Obama will officially accept the award virtually on December 8.
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