PEN USA to Honor Hugh Hefner, James Salter, Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver at 20th Annual Literary Awards Festival

Oct 26, 2010, 13:23 ET from PEN Center USA

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 26 /PRNewswire/ -- PEN USA, the West Coast center for the renowned writers' organization International PEN, will salute the winners of its prestigious 2010 Literary Awards competition at its 20th Annual Literary Awards Festival (LitFest), Wednesday, November 17th at the Beverly Hills Hotel. The prizes, announced by PEN USA Executive Director Adam Somers, honor outstanding work by writers in 11 separate genres.

In addition to the literary prizes, the LitFest gala will feature several further honors. Hugh Hefner, trailblazing creator of "Playboy" magazine and decades-long hero to those concerned with freedom of speech, will receive both the Award of Honor and the organization's First Amendment Award. Novelist, short-story writer, screenwriter and memoirist James Salter will receive PEN USA's Lifetime Achievement Award for 2010. Actor and author Henry Winkler and his co-writer, Lin Oliver will be presented with a special award honoring their funny, contagiously appealing series of Hank Zipzer books, aimed towards young readers who need extra encouragement as their reading progresses.

The evening will also include the Freedom to Write Award, and the University of California Exceptional First Book Award. Recipients of the literary awards were chosen by a distinguished panel of writers, editors, critics, and journalists. Winners were selected from among more than 500 entries. Each winner will receive a $1,000 check.

"This year's honorees continue the tradition of PEN USA's dedication to celebrating literary excellence," said Somers. "Each is distinct and distinguished in his personal contribution—together they reinforce our credo of the power of the written word."

PEN Center USA, one of International PEN's two centers in the United States and its third largest in the world, was founded in 1943 and incorporated as a nonprofit association in 1981. Its membership of more than 800 writers includes poets, playwrights, essayists, novelists (the original source of the acronym, "PEN"), as well as writers for television and film, critics, historians, editors, journalists, and translators. PEN Center USA strives to protect the rights of writers around the world, to stimulate interest in the written word, and to foster a vital literary community among the diverse writers living in the western United States.

Tickets $175. For further information, please call Levy, Pazanti at (310) 201-5033 or visit