The writers’ group PEN, the same literary entity that hands out the PEN / Faulkner Award every year, has put together an elite group that includes Bono, Elvis Costello, Roseanne Cash, and Salman Rushdie. And every two years, this group hands out the Song Lyrics of Literary Excellence Awards to some of our great lyric writers. In the past, PEN has given the award to Chuck Berry, Leonard Cohen, Kris Kristofferson, and Randy Newman. Today, at John F. Kennedy Presidential Library And Museum in Boston, that same group will honor one of our greatest weirdos and his greatest collaborator.
As the Associated Press reports, Elvis Costello will host today’s ceremony, and it will honor the eternally deranged Tom Waits, as well as Kathleen Brennan, Waits’ too-frequently-overlooked wife and co-writer. The same ceremony will also honor John Prine, the veteran country/folk singer-songwriter.