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Authors Guild Dinner, with Emcee John Lithgow, to Honor NPR’s Terry Gross

On May 23, 2011, the Authors Guild’s annual celebration of writers and writing will be held at the Edison Ballroom in New York, where John Lithgow will serve as emcee. During the gala dinner, the Guild will honor NPR’s Terry Gross for her extraordinary service to the American literary community by bringing well-informed conversations with thousands of authors to Fresh Air’s vast audience.

Now in its nineteenth year, the Authors Guild Dinner benefits the Authors Guild Foundation, which promotes the role of copyright and free speech in maintaining a vibrant literary culture, and the Authors League Fund, which has provided vital financial support to book authors and dramatists in need for more than 90 years. Co-chairs of the event include Judy Blume, Mary Higgins Clark, Patricia Cornwell, James Gleick, John and Renee Grisham, Garrison Keillor, John R. MacArthur, Mary Pope Osborne, Scott Turow, and Stuart Woods.

Mr. Lithgow, best known as a Tony and Emmy Award-winning actor, is also a Grammy nominated performer, a bestselling children’s book author, and author of the forthcoming memoir, Drama: An Actor’s Education.

Ms. Gross, the host and an executive producer of Fresh Air, is this year’s recipient of the Authors Guild Award for Distinguished Service to the Literary Community. Ms. Gross’s singular insight and curiosity in exploring writers’ ideas have made Fresh Air a vital national forum for American literature that more than 4.5 million readers listen to each week. Fresh Air is produced at WHYY in Philadelphia.

The Authors Guild, with more than 8000 members, is the largest society of published authors in the U.S. and the nation’s primary advocate for authors’ rights.

The Authors Guild Foundation supports the work of the Authors Guild, focusing its efforts on copyright and free expression.

The Authors League Fund, established in 1917, provides crucial financial support to professional writers in need, many of whom are older writers suffering severe health problems. Over the past decade, the Fund has helped hundreds of writers with more than $1.7 million in direct assistance.