Willow Bay to Get PEN Center USA Honor

The former 'Good Morning America' host and current USC Annenberg director will get the Award of Honor, while the Washington Post's Jason Rezaian, who spent 545 days in an Iranian jail, gets the Freedom to Write Award at the Sept. 28 ceremony.
Courtesy of Fifteen Minutes PR; Getty Images

PEN Center USA, the literary and human rights organization, is honoring former ABC newswoman Willow Bay and former Washington Post Tehran Bureau Chief Jason Rezaian with awards at its 26th annual Literary Awards Festival, the center announced.

Bay, currently the director of the USC Annenberg School of Journalism, will receive the Award of Honor, which recognizes people and institutions that have made meaningful contributions to the world of writers and journalists. Before joining the Annenberg School, Bay was a correspondent for Bloomberg Television, NBC News and MSNBC. Earlier in her career she co-anchored ABC’s Good Morning America. She’s also currently a senior strategic advisor at the Huffington Post.

Rezaian will receive the Freedom to Write Award. In July 2014, Rezaian and his wife were detained by Iranian authorities on vague and meritless charges of espionage and propaganda. He spent 545 days in Tehran’s Evin prison before being released on Jan. 16, 2016, as part of broad negotiations between the U.S. and Iran over that country’s nuclear arms program. Several other American detainees were released at the same time as Rezaian.

PEN Center previously announced Isabel Allende as the recipient of the 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award.

This year’s PEN Center gala is being hosted by actors and best-selling authors (as well as wife and husband) Amber Tamblyn and David Cross. The event takes place Sept. 28 at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel.  

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