America's foremost rhetorical pugilist. -John Giuffo, The Village VoiceThe death of Christopher Hitchens in December 2011 prematurely silenced a voice that was among the most admired of contemporary writers. For more than forty years, Hitchens delivered to numerous publications on both sides of the Atlantic essays that were astonishingly wide-ranging and provocative. The judges for the PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay, posthumously bestowed on Hitchens, praised him for the way he wrote with fervor about the books and writers he loved and with unbridled venom about ideas and political figures he loathed. He could write, the judges went on to say, with undisguised brio, mining the resources of the language as if alert to every possibility of color and inflection. He was, as Benjamin Schwarz, his editor at The Atlantic magazine, recalled, slashing and lively, biting and funny-and with a nuanced sensibility and a refined ear that he kept in tune with his encyclopedic knowledge and
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