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Elmore Leonard will be presented with the lifetime achievement award by PEN USA on Dec. 2. ((Chasen & Co./Associated Press))

Elmore Leonard, a U.S. screenwriter and novelist who specializes in crime fiction and suspense, will receive PEN USA's lifetime achievement award.

Leonard began his career writing westerns and has since written more than 40 novels, including Road Dogs and Cuba Libra.

His books Out of Sight, Get Shorty and Be Cool and his short story 3:10 to Yuma have been adapted for film. He is also a screenwriter for movies such as Mr. Majestyk and Desperado.

Leonard, 83, lives in Oakland County, Mich., and is known as "the Dickens of Detroit" because of his gritty depictions of Detroit characters.

PEN USA, a Los Angeles-based organization that works to advance writers' freedom, will present him with the award Dec. 2 in Beverly Hills, Calif.

With files from The Associated Press