"The Color Purple"

PEN fundraiser celebrates the scandalous

Hollywood and L.A. literati are joining forces May 5 to shine a spotlight on censorship, as nonprofit PEN Center USA gears up for its Forbidden Fruit: Readings From Banned Works of Literature fundraiser.

Good eats, drinks and a silent auction kick off the party at 4:30 p.m. Helmer John Landis, Los Angeles Review of Books founder and editor Tom Lutz and “NCIS: Los Angeles” co-star Renee Felice Smith will read aloud from formerly taboo tomes “Catch-22″; “Huckleberry Finn”; “To Kill a Mockingbird”; “The Catcher in the Rye”; “The Color Purple” (pictured above) and “Of Mice and Men.”

“Banned books have ranged from the political to the provocative, from the sexual to the surprisingly benign,” says PEN Center USA board member Laura Bickford (also producer of “Traffic” and “Arbitrage”). “What they have in common is the controversy surrounding them.”

Added Matt Galsor, chair of the Entertainment Group at Greenberg Glusker, one of the events corporate sponsors: “Those who are fortunate to have the right to speak freely have an obligation to speak up when writers are imprisoned for writing, when books are banned, when freedom of speech is assaulted anywhere in the world by any government. It’s especially imperative that those of us in the entertainment community speak up for those who are not allowed to speak.”

Bickford and scribe-producer Peter Blake will host the party at a private L.A. estate. Tickets cost $125 ($275 for VIP) and are available at ForbiddenFruitMay5.eventbrite.com.

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