PEN/Newman's Own First Amendment Award

The PEN/Newman's Own First Amendment Award was presented each spring to a U.S. resident who has fought courageously, despite adversity, to safeguard the First Amendment right to freedom of expression as it applies to the written word. Sponsored by PEN American Center and Newman's Own, a cash prize of $20,000 was awarded. The award ended in 2006 and was succeeded by the PEN/Katherine Anne Porter First Amendment Award.


2006 - Sibel Edmonds

2005 - Joan Airoldi - a librarian and library director in rural Washington State who challenged an FBI effort to search patron records under the Library Awareness Program. "Librarian's brush with FBI shapes her view of the USA Patriot Act". Retrieved on 2007-04-16.

2004 - Barbara Parsons Lane, one of eight incarcerated writers who were sued by the State of Connecticut after contributing to Couldn't Keep It To Myself: Testimonies from our Imprisoned Sisters, a moving anthology of stories and essays by women who participated in a creative writing workshop led by Wally Lamb at York Correctional Institute.

2003 - Jerilynn Adams Williams a Texas librarian who successfully turned back an attempt to remove books from circulation at Montgomery County public libraries.

2002 - Vanessa Leggett, freelance writer who was jailed in a federal detention center in Texas for 168 days for refusing to bow to a sweeping subpoena of confidential source materials.

2001 - Deloris Wilson, high school librarian in West Monroe, Louisiana who fought to preserve access to library materials banned for sexual content.

- Alberto Sarrain, Cuban-émigré theater producer who challenged Miami-Dade County's ban on public funding to arts organizations performing work by artists currently living in Cuba.

2000 - Dr. William Holda, President, Kilgore College, who defended the production of Tony Kushner's play Angels in America in Kilgore, Texas.

1999 - Releah Lent, Florida high school teacher and student newspaper advisor who has struggled to defend literature in the classroom and press freedom for students.

1998 - Terrilyn Simpson, Maine writer and journalist harassed for her attempts to cover local industrial health hazards.

1997 - Nancy Hsu Fleming, defeated a corporation's attempt to silence her written concerns about possible groundwater contamination caused by a local landfill.

1996 - Cissy Lacks, Missouri high school Creative Writing teacher fired for "failure to censor her students' creative expression."

1995 - Joyce Meskis, Denver bookstore owner who successfully challenged a Colorado law barring stores open to children from selling novels and art books with sexual content, and who continued to sell Salman Rushdie's The Satanic Verses in 1989, donating 25% of proceeds to anticensorship organizations.

1994 - Carole Marlowe, Arizona drama teacher who resisted district censorship of a play selected for student production.

1993 - Claudia Johnson restored literary classics--including Steinbeck, Chaucer, Aristophanes-- that had been banned from Florida classrooms; defended student production of A Raisin in the Sun.

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