The Literary Awards Festival is held at the Beverly Hills Hotel and includes a dinner, a silent auction or raffle and the presentation of the literary awards and honoree awards. This gala is the only one of its scope on the West Coast and is attended by more than 400 prominent members of the literary community. Past recipients of the Award of Honor and Lifetime Achievement Award include: Ray Bradbury, Elmore Leonard, Carolyn See, Gore Vidal and Billy Wilder. The evening also features the presentation of the prestigious First Amendment Award, given to a candidate who has done work in the domestic United States to protect the first amendment, as well as the Freedom to Write Award, given to a candidate who has fought for freedom of expression internationally. Both awards honor men and women who have produced exceptional work in the face of extreme adversity, who have been punished for exercising their freedom of expression, or who have fought against censorship and defended the right to publish freely.
PEN Center USA is no longer accepting submissions of work produced or published in 2012.