Bob Woodward to receive PEN America Literary Service Award

Copies of Bob Woodward's "Fear" appear at Costco in Arlington, Va., Woodward's hottest seller in years.
Copies of Bob Woodward’s “Fear” appear at Costco in Arlington, Va., Woodward’s hottest seller in years.
(Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP)

PEN America, the nonprofit literary society, will give its annual Literary Service Award to Bob Woodward, the journalist whose work with Carl Bernstein broke the story of the Watergate scandal.

The group announced on Monday that Woodward would receive the award, which is given to an author “whose work embodies PEN America’s mission to oppose repression in any form and to champion the best of humanity.”

Woodward is an associate editor at the Washington Post, the newspaper where he’s worked for 47 years. It was there where he and Bernstein wrote a series of articles about a burglary at the offices of the Democratic National Committee in 1972 at the Watergate Hotel and Office Building in Washington, D.C.


Their coverage of the burglary and its cover-up led to the resignation of President Nixon in 1974. Woodward and Bernstein received the Pulitzer Prize for their work on the story.

They also wrote a bestselling book about the scandal, “All the President’s Men,” which Time magazine called “perhaps the most influential piece of journalism in history.”

“All 19 of Woodward’s books have been national nonfiction best sellers, and 13 of those have been #1 best sellers, more than any contemporary author,” PEN America said in a news release. “No one digs deeper or has provided a more detailed or penetrating portrait of the nine presidents — from Nixon to Trump — he has written about for the Post or in books.”

Woodward’s latest book, “Fear: Trump in the White House,” was one of the bestselling books of 2018, and became the fastest-selling book in the history of its publisher, Simon & Schuster.

The PEN America Literary Service Award was established in 2007, with novelist Gore Vidal as the first winner. Other authors to take home the award have included Toni Morrison, Margaret Atwood, J.K. Rowling and Stephen King.

Woodward will be presented with the award at the 2019 PEN America Literary Gala, which is scheduled for May 21 at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. Comedian John Oliver, the host of HBO’s “Last Week Tonight,” is slated to host the gala.