Leonard Cohen To Attend PEN New England Song Lyrics of Literary Excellence Award Ceremony

“Leonard Cohen is expected to attend”

So reads the email received this morning from Karen Wulf, Director of PEN New England in response to my request for clarification about whether Leonard Cohen would appear at the February 26, 2012 Song Lyrics of Literary Excellence Award ceremony at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum.

Initially, PEN New England had indicated only that Chuck Berry would be present to receive his award and that “Leonard Cohen may attend.” Later announcements had been ambiguous.

The Song Lyrics of Literary Excellence Award

Ongoing readers may recall that the 17 January 2012 Heck Of A Guy post, Leonard Cohen & Chuck Berry Honored With First Annual Song Lyrics of Literary Excellence Award, and the 19 January 2012 post, Jarvis Cocker & Leonard Cohen Discuss Pen New England Song Lyrics of Literary Excellence Award, pointed out the lack of fanfare – or, for that matter, information – about the first  annual Song Lyrics of Literary Excellence prize being awarded to Mssrs. Cohen and Berry. As those posts noted, the only internet  source identifying  the winners of this award discoverable in repeated searches was then a press release, “New Leonard Cohen Song to Be Streamed by The New Yorker,” which Heck Of A Guy (and several other Cohen-affiliated sites) received from AJGpr, a Los Angeles based public relations firm working with the Old Ideas album marketing campaign.

On Sunday, February 26, PEN New England and the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum will be The 2012 Awards for Song Lyrics of Literary Excellence, which will be presented to Chuck Berry and Leonard Cohen. The forum will be from 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. and doors will open one hour before the program begins. Seating is on a first come, first served basis – once the main hall is full, the event will be streamed live in an overflow theater. Early arrival is encouraged, and seats are limited to two per person. A live webcast of the program will be shown at the JFK Library’s website at www.jfklibrary.org/webcast.

At that time, the following was found on the PEN New England website,

Bill Flanagan, novelist and music critic, chairs the Award Committee.  Members of the jury include Bono, Rosanne Cash, Elvis Costello, Paul Muldoon, Smokey Robinson, Salman Rushdie, and Paul Simon.  PEN New England chairman Richard Hoffman first announced the establishment of the award at last year’s “Lyrics & Literature” program, held at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library, featuring Flanagan, Muldoon, and Simon.

That, gentle reader, was the total information publicly available.

Then, as noted in Song Lyrics of Literary Excellence Award: PEN New England Tells Tchaikovsky – & DrHGuy – The News, Ms Wulf forwarded me a Save The Date announcement but nothing more about the prize or the ceremony.

The Bad News – You’re Too Late To Watch The Award Ceremony Live

Late last week, a handful of sites began carrying  carrying a release from PEN New England about the Lyrics of Literary Excellence Award with instructions to “Click here to make a reservation and to view other upcoming forums.” Clicking as indicated brought up the following:

Song Lyrics of Literary Excellence

February 26, 2012 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM

PEN New England and the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum cordially invite you to the 2012 Awards for Song Lyrics of Literary Excellence presented to Chuck Berry and Leonard Cohen.

Seats are limited to two per person. Doors open one hour before the program begins. Seating is on a first come, first served basis. Once the main hall is full, the event will be streamed live in an overflow theater.

The screenshot below shows the text, the images of Mssrs Berry and Cohen, and the indicator (circled) that all seating accommodation in the main hall are “full.” (click to enlarge):

The Good News – You Can Watch The Webcast Of The Award Ceremony

In later bulletins from PEN New England, the line “Once the main hall is full, the event will be streamed live in an overflow theater” has been changed to

A live webcast of the program will be shown at the JFK Library’s website at www.jfklibrary.org/webcast.

So tune in to witness yet another event honoring Leonard Cohen, this one with a Chuck Berry kicker.

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