PEN Pinter Prize extends reach beyond UK

PEN Pinter Prize extends reach beyond UK

Vicky Featherstone, Zia Haider Rahman and Peter Stothard will be joining Maureen Freely and Antonia Fraser as judges of the 2016 PEN Pinter Prize, which has extended its eligibility to include writers from the Republic of Ireland and the Commonwealth.

The PEN Pinter Prize was established in 2009 by English PEN in memory of Nobel Laureate playwright and poet Harold Pinter.

The prize is awarded annually to a writer of "outstanding literary merit", who casts an “unflinching, unswerving” gaze upon the world and shows a ‘fierce intellectual determination to define the real truth of our lives and our societies".

From this year, the eligibility of the prize, which was formerly only for British writers, has been extended to writers from the Republic of Ireland and the Commonwealth.

Freely is president of English PEN and will chair the judging panel. Featherstone is artistic director of the Royal Court Theatre, Haider Rahman is a novelist and Stothard is editor of the Times Literary Supplement.

Freely said: “With this prize, now in its eighth year, we honour great writers whose deeds and words extend far beyond the published page. We at English PEN would like to offer our tanks to our three distinguished judges, and – as always – to Antonia for her wise and constant support.”

Fraser, historian, biographer and widow of Harold Pinter, said: “This is the perfect way to mark the memory of Harold because, like him, the PEN Pinter Prize combines respect for great writing with an unquenchable concern for human rights.”

The PEN Pinter winner is required to be available to give a lecture or similar public performance on receipt of the prize, the ceremony for which will take place on 13th October 2016 at the British Library.

Each year the PEN Pinter winner chooses an International Writer of Courage to share the prize, selected from a shortlist of international cases supported by English PEN. The recipient will be an international writer who is active in defence of freedom of expression, often at great risk to their own safety.

Last year’s winner of the PEN Pinter Prize was James Fenton and the International Writer of Courage was Raif Badawi.