Hugh Hefner Honored for Free Speech at PEN USA Awards
PEN Center USA's annual awards were held at The Beverly Hills Hotel on Wednesday night and many luminaries were honored for their work, including Hugh Hefner who received an Award of Honor for his editorial prowess and the First Amendment Award for his ongoing efforts to fight censorship.
It was an odd evening of Hollywood star power and literary minds mingling together. Entertainment reporters and many event-goers were laser-focused on Hugh and his bunnies while lovers of the written word were far more interested in getting a few moments to talk with Walter Kirn, Mary Melton and James Salter, recipient of PEN USA's Lifetime Achievement Award.
Though the red carpet was awkward as incredible literary minds were ignored once "famous" non-writers entered the fray (Hugh basked in the limelight while Salter deemed the flashbulb frenzy "ridiculous") and many took bets on how long Hugh's bunnies would stick around after his awards were handed out, PEN USA's mission to support emerging writers and protect their First Amendment rights was the true star of the evening.