Actor LeVar Burton (Roots, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Reading Rainbow) has been named the inaugural PEN/Faulkner Literary Champion to “recognize devoted literary advocacy and a commitment to inspiring new generations of readers and writers.” PEN/Faulkner executive director Gwydion Suilebhan said, “For decades, LeVar Burton has inspired readers all over the world. He has brought stories to life in a magical and meaningful way for generations of book-lovers, and his work has made a lasting, positive impact in literature.” Burton said,
I come from a family for whom service to others is the highest possible calling. Whatever efforts I have made toward advancing the cause of literacy, give honor to my mother, Erma Gene Christian, my first teacher and from whom I have inherited my love for books and reading. As we move forward out of a time when alternative facts and mendacious propaganda shaped public opinion, the work you do through the PEN/Faulkner Award, and your committed investment in DC schools, has never been more important. I couldn’t be more honored to be the inaugural PEN/Faulkner Literary Champion.
He also hosts the LeVar Burton Reads podcast, regularly featuring stories by science fiction and fantasy authors including Charlie Jane Anders, Ray Bradbury, Octavia E. Butler, John Chu, Amal El-Mohtar, Neil Gaiman, Nalo Hopkinson, Ken Liu, Bruce McAllister, Haruki Murakami, and Nnedi Okorafor.
Burton will be honored along with the PEN/Faulkner Award winner and finalists in a virtual ceremony on May 10, 2021. For more information, see the PEN/Faulkner website.
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