News ID : 171100
Publish Date : 4/23/2024 8:36:40 PM
PEN America cancels 2024 awards after authors drop out over Gaza

PEN America cancels 2024 awards after authors drop out over Gaza

The writers group PEN America canceled its 2024 annual awards, just a week before the ceremony, after facing widespread and mounting criticism over its response to Israel’s war on Gaza.

Sixty-one authors and translators were nominated for awards, but 28 of them withdrew their books from consideration, according to a statement released on Monday.

Nine of 10 authors nominated for the PEN/Jean Stein book award, including Maya Binyam and Camonghne Felix, withdrew from consideration, the Guardian reported.

“This is a beloved event and an enormous amount of work goes into it, so we all regret this outcome but ultimately concluded it was not possible to carry out a celebration in the way we had hoped and planned,” Suzanne Nossel, the chief executive of the literary and free expression organization, said in a statement on Monday.

Clarisse Rosaz Shariyf, literary programming chief officer, added that it had been a difficult decision to cancel.

“We greatly respect that writers have followed their consciences, whether they chose to remain as nominees in their respective categories or not,” said Rosaz Shariyf.

The decision followed intense and escalating protests demanding that the organization take a more forceful stance on the Palestinian plight and demand a ceasefire in Gaza following Israel’s military offensive in the territory, in response to the Hamas-led attack on southern Israel last October.

The estate requested that PEN America donate the $75,000 award to the Palestine Children’s Relief Fund.

“In the context of Israel’s ongoing war on Gaza, we believe that PEN America has betrayed the organization’s professed commitment to peace and equality for all, and to freedom and security for writers everywhere,” the letter read.

The award ceremony would have taken place on 29 April at the Town Hall in New York City.


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