Neil Gaiman, Art Spiegelman and Alison Bechdel are among the writers who have agreed to be table hosts at next week’s PEN American Center gala after six authors withdrew in protest of an award being given to the satirical French magazine Charlie Hebdo.
The literary and human rights organization told The Associated Press this weekend that the other new hosts are George Packer, Azar Mafisi and Alain Mabanckou, a Congolese-born French author who will present the award to Hebdo’s editor in chief Gerard Biard and critic and essayist Jean-Baptiste Thore. PEN is giving the magazine a Freedom of Expression Courage award, a decision that has been fiercely defended and criticized.
“I was honored to be invited to host a table,” Gaiman wrote in an email Sunday to The Associated Press. “The Charlie Hebdo cartoonists are getting an award for courage: They continued putting out their magazine after the offices were firebombed, and the survivors have continued following the murders.”
For those that have not been following the PEN Gala debate, a firestorm erupted after six authors withdrew in protest of an award given to Charlie Hebdo. The main issue was whether Hebdo’s cartoons were an indication of bigotry and if conferring an award meant an endorsement of such content. PEN officials had this to say in response–
PEN officials, including organization president Andrew Solomon, have said the award is not for the magazine’s content, while also praising satire as a valid and valuable form of social criticism.
Link to the full article on ABCNews.com
Link to the PEN blog