Capping off a tumultuous spring, free expression nonprofit PEN America held its annual Literary Gala on May 16 at the American Museum of National History in Manhattan’s Upper West Side.

The event, expected to raise roughly $2 million in funding by the end of the evening, saw PEN brass strike both conciliatory and defiant tones after months of criticism from a number of authors, including many nominees for PEN’s 2024 Literary Awards, over the organization’s response to the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. The outcry prompted the cancellation of both those awards and the PEN World Voices Festival.