Tina Brown, Toni Goodale, and Annette Tapert Serve as Honorary Chairs for 2011 PEN Literary Gala

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Nasrin Sotoudeh awarded the 2011 Pen/Barbara Goldsmith Freedom to Write Award; Michael Ondaatje awarded the PEN Literary Service Award

On April 26, 2011 PEN American Center held it’s annual PEN Literary Gala at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, City. The 2011 PEN/Barbara Goldsmith Freedom to Write Award was awarded to Nasrin Sotoudeh, an Iranian writer, lawyer, and leading voice in the women’s and children’s rights movement in Iran. Shirin Ebadi, recipient of the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize, accepted the award on behalf of Ms. Sotoudeh.

Author of The English Patient, Michael Ondaatje, received the PEN Literary Service Award. Born in Sri-Lanka, Mr. Ondaatje dedicated his award to the memory of Tamil lawyer Neelan Tiruchelvam, who fell victim to a suicide bomber in 1999.

The 2011 PEN Literary Gala provides crucial funding for securing the liberty of persecuted and imprisoned writers around the world, to defend freedom of expression wherever it is threatened, and to promote literature and international cultural exchange. Each year, the PEN/Barbara Goldsmith Freedom to Write Award is granted to an imprisoned writer of conscience in particularly dire circumstances. Also presented to a writer is the PEN Literary Service Award for critically acclaimed work that illuminates the human condition in original and powerful ways.

This year’s PEN Literary Literary Gala was co-chaired by Tina Brown, Toni Goodale, and Annette Tapert. The master or ceremonies for the event was The New Yorker editor, David Remnick.

About PEN American Center
Throughout its 85-year history, PEN American Center has remained a writer-centered organization in which members play a leading role. PEN presidents, such as Arthur Miller, Norman Mailer, Susan Sontag, and Salman Rushdie have, and continue to place themselves at the forefront of the struggle to oppose censorship and defend writers.

PEN American Center is the U.S. branch of the world’s oldest international literary and human rights organization. International PEN was founded in 1921 in direct response to the ethnic and national divisions that contributed to the First World War. PEN American Center was founded in 1922 and is the largest of the 144 PEN centers in 101 countries that together compose International PEN.

About Toni Goodale
Toni Goodale is listed in Who's Who in America, Who's Who of American Women, Who's Who in Finance and Industry and Who's Who in the East. She is a member of the Women's Forum, Inc. and has served on the Board of Directors of the New York Public Library, The Brearley School, the New York City Outward Bound Center, PEN American Center, Metropolitan Museum Business Committee, and others.

A cum laude graduate of Smith College, Toni Goodale has more than 30 years experience in the non-profit sector. Prior to establishing Goodale Associates, she headed the Ford Foundation's Internal Research Department and established Smith College's first development office in New York City. She has also served on many volunteer committees for visual and performing arts, education and civic affairs organizations.

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