In recognition of her comic legacy, nine-time Emmy winner Tina Fey will receive the 2023 PEN/Mike Nichols Writing for Performance Award at 59th annual PEN America Literary Awards.
“It’s been a lifelong dream to have my name associated in any way with the great Mike Nichols,” Fey said in statement Wednesday. “Thanks to this award, I can stop working on my ‘Silkwood’ reboot.”
Fey is the fifth recipient to ever receive the award, which honors a groundbreaking writer who inspires audiences similar to the late director Mike Nichols. The award will be presented to Fey by her “Saturday Night Live” co-star Rachel Dratch.
“The PEN America Literary Awards celebrate both the joy and the essential hard truths writers deliver,” CEO of PEN American Suzanne Nossel said in a statement. “With her unabashed comic sensibilities, multilayered jokes, and heightened reflection of our off-kilter world, Tina Fey has brought indispensable laughter and insight to audiences and readers. We couldn’t be happier to share this award with such a singular and pioneering artist, who, like the great Mike Nichols, understands the depth and social import of humor.”
Fey’s roots in comedy date back to 1997 with her start as a writer and cast member on “SNL” — a gig she pursued for nine seasons. By 1999, she was the first female head writer on the show. Fey departed from the sketch series in 2006, instead shifting her attention to creating, writing and starring in the NBC sit-com “30 Rock.”
“30 Rock” broke the record for the most Emmy nominations in one season for any comedy series. The show earned 16 Emmys and totaled 103 nominations during its seven-season run. Since the series wrapped in 2013, Fey has continued to take behind-the-screen roles on titles like “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” and “Mr. Mayor.”
Currently, Fey is developing a musical adaptation of “Mean Girls” for screen, poised to marry the original 2004 film she wrote with the Tony-nominated Broadway show of the same name.
Fifty-four authors were also announced today as finalists across 11 book-related categories. For a full list of nominees, visit the PEN America website.
Joining Dratch on-stage as presenters are composer Jad Abumrad, MSNBC’s Ari Melber, former U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky, “The Breakfast Club” star Molly Ringwald and model-turned-filmmaker Geena Rocero.
The 2023 PEN America Literary Awards will take place March 2 at The Town Hall in New York City for an in-person ceremony, complete with musical performances from Broadway thespians Bobby Conte, Liisi LaFontaine and Solea Pfeiffer. The ceremony will begin at 8 p.m ET.