PEN America has canceled its upcoming literary awards ceremony after a number of nominees withdrew their books from consideration in protest over the nonprofit’s response to the Israel-Hamas war.

PEN made the announcement Monday in a news release, with the organization’s literary programming chief officer, Clarisse Rosaz Shariyf, saying, “We greatly respect that writers have followed their consciences, whether they chose to remain as nominees in their respective categories or not. We regret that this unprecedented situation has taken away the spotlight from the extraordinary work selected by esteemed, insightful and hard-working judges across all categories. As an organization dedicated to freedom of expression and writers, our commitment to recognizing and honoring outstanding authors and the literary community is steadfast.”

PEN had come under fire for what some saw as their insufficient response to the Israel-Hamas conflict. The Washington Post reports that almost half of the nominees for the prizes asked not to be considered.

The organization’s biggest prize, the $75,000 PEN/Jean Stein Book Award, was in peril after nine of its 10 nominees withdrew from consideration. No winner for that prize will be named and, at the request of Stein’s estate, the money will be given to the Palestine Children’s Relief Fund.

PEN said in a statement, “Winners who remained under consideration for their respective award will receive their cash prizes. No winners will be announced if the selected winning title was no longer under consideration for the award.”

Tom Beer is the editor-in-chief.