A woman walks behind a large banner stating 'Je suis Charlie' that is hung between trees next the 'Charlie Hebdo' offices in Paris, France, on Jan. 12, 2015.
Photo by Etienne Laurent/EPA

Charlie Hebdo receives PEN award at literary gala

NEW YORK (AP) — The French magazine Charlie Hebdo has been presented a freedom of expression award from the PEN American Center.

Its representatives received a standing ovation Tuesday night after an emotional weeklong debate over whether the honor was deserved.

Security was heavy as Salman Rushdie, Neil Gaiman and hundreds of writers, editors and others from the publishing world attended PEN’s gala at the American Museum of Natural History.

Just as notable were those who would not, and could not, be there. Michael Ondaatje, Peter Carey and four other writers scheduled to be table hosts withdrew because of objections to what they considered the magazine’s offensive cartoons of Muslims. Hebdo was being given the prize in the wake of the shootings in January at the magazine’s offices that left 12 dead.