Yazbek wins PEN/Pinter International Writer of Courage Award

Syrian writer Samar Yazbek, author of A Woman in the Crossfire (Haus Publishing), has been chosen as the international writer of courage who will share the PEN/Pinter Prize 2012 with British winner Carol Ann Duffy.

Yazbek's account of the revolution from inside Syria, and her vocal opposition to the Assad regime, have forced her to live in exile. Her book won a PEN award for translation this year.

Yazbek's award was announced at the British Library last night (8th October) as Carol Ann Duffy herself formally accepted the PEN/Pinter Prize 2012. Duffy chose Yazbek to share the prize from a shortlist drawn up by the English PEN Writers at Risk Committee.

Yazbek said: "Giving the PEN/Pinter international writer of courage prize to the author of the Syrian revolution's diaries is an important sign of the recognition of the Syrian people's struggle. I am grateful to English PEN, and to Carol Ann Duffy, for selecting this book, and through it, for supporting our cause."

The PEN/Pinter prize is given annually by English PEN to a British writer of outstanding literary merit who casts an "unflinching" eye on the world, in memory of Nobel-winning playwright Harold Pinter. The judges this year were David Hare, Margaret Drabble, Melvyn Bragg, Antonia Fraser and English PEN president Gillian Slovo.