Former President Barack Obama is set to be honored by one of America’s top literary groups later this year.
Pen America announced on Wednesday it will confer Obama with the “Voice of Influence Award” for what the organization described as “self-reflective humanism” present in his political writings.
“As an organization of writers, we have always seen President Obama not just as a leader, but as one of us: an author. His probing and evocative narratives helped introduce the world to his unique background, and the power of his life experience as a prompt toward a more pluralistic and encompassing society,” Pen America president Suzanne Nossel said in a statement. “We are thrilled that on the occasion of the publication of ‘A Promised Land,’ we will have the chance to honor President Obama with this award as part of the virtual edition of the best book party of the year: the PEN America gala.”
Obama’s memoir, “A Promised Land,” published earlier this month and contains a litany of personal anecdotes and descriptive details of the former president’s political struggles, personal achievements and reflections on American society as a whole.
As part of Pen America’s annual gala on Dec. 8, an event slated to be held virtually this year due to public health concerns stemming from the coronavirus pandemic, Obama will be interviewed by author and historian Ron Chernow.
Obama has granted several national television and print media interviews as he carries out his book tour, taking shots at President Trump, conservative media and other adversaries along the way.
“Preliminarily communicating effectively, respecting the science. Not undermining the leading epidemiologist in the country and saying he’s an idiot,” Obama said. “Being consistent in terms of masks and social distancing, not suggesting that this is some act of oppression, but rather just a common sense thing to prevent people from getting sick.”