Patti Smith is being honored with the 2020 PEN America Literary Service Award, as Rolling Stone reports. The legendary musician also has a great many books of both poetry and prose to her name, including the popular memoirs Just Kids, M Train, and the recently releasing Year Of The Monkey.
PEN America president Jennifer Egan, the author of Manhattan Beach and the rock world-adjacent A Visit From The Goon Squad, had this to say about Smith in a statement:
In all of Patti Smith’s thrilling incarnations—rock goddess, poet, eloquent witness to the bohemian New York of her youth—she has testified to the transformative power of literature in her own life and used her stardom to encourage reading and writing in the legions who revere her. A polestar of my own teenage years, she set an example of badass female artistry, coupled with deeply principled humanity, that I’m still trying to live up to. It will be an almost surreal joy to honor and celebrate the great Patti Smith at our 2020 gala.
Past recipients of the PEN America Literary Service Award include Stephen King, Stephen Sondheim, J.K. Rowling, Tom Stoppard, Salman Rushdie, Philip Roth, Edward Albee, Margaret Atwood, and Toni Morrison.
The PEN America Literary Gala will take place on 5/19 at the American Museum Of Natural History.