Letter in Alibi Leads VA Nurse to First Amendment Award

april 28, 2008  08:50 am
The PEN American Center named Laura Berg as the recipient of this year's prestigious PEN/Katherine Anne Porter First Amendment Award. Berg, who faced a sedition investigation after writing a letter to the editor of the Alibi criticizing the Bush Administration's handling of Hurricane Katrina and the Iraq War, will receive the $10,000 prize at a gala tonight in New York City. "When Laura Berg sat down to write her letter to the editor, she was enacting her most basic constitutional right and affirming our national faith that exercising this right is an act of patriotism and civic engagement," PEN Freedom to Write program director Larry Siems says in a release. "That her letter was greeted instead as a threat to overthrow the government shows just how far we deviated from our national values in the years following 9/11." The New York Times applauded the PEN Center's decision, editorializing this weekend that Berg was "well chosen" to receive award.