Author Zadie Smith is the recipient of this year’s PEN/Audible Literary Service Award, an honor previously awarded to Toni Morrison, Stephen Sondheim and Margaret Atwood, among others.
the PEN Literary Prize is presented to “an important writer whose work has attracted a wide audience and who helps us to understand the human condition in an original and powerful way”.
Smith, 46, the youngest recipient of the literary award, is known for his novels “White Teeth” and “NW” and collections of essays such as “Changing My Mind” and “Intimations.”
She recently helped introduce a stand-alone book edition of Morrison’s short story “Recitative”.
“Zadie Smith’s impact cannot be underestimated,” PEN America President Ayad Akhtar said in a statement Friday. “She is not only one of the most groundbreaking voices in contemporary fiction, but also one of our most insightful critical minds. Its considerable influence only seems to expand more and more over time.
Smith will be among the guests on May 23 at PEN America‘s annual literary gala, to be held in Manhattan at the Museum of Natural History. Other honorees include Audible founder Donald Katz, named by PEN as this year’s business visionary honoree.