Carol Ann Duffy awarded Pen Pinter prize

Carol Ann Duffy Duffy's The Bees won the 2011 Costa Poetry Award

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Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy is to be awarded the 2012 Pen Pinter Prize.

The annual prize - in memory of the playwright Harold Pinter - is awarded to a British writer of outstanding literary merit.

Duffy, who will receive the award at the British Library on 8 October, said she was "hugely honoured and moved".

"Carol Ann Duffy is a great poet," said judge Lady Antonia Fraser, praising her ability "to make important points through her work".

"She comments on contemporary events directly in a way we do not believe a Poet Laureate has done before," added Lady Fraser, the widow of Harold Pinter.

'At Risk'

Duffy became the first female Poet Laureate in 2009. Her most recent book of poetry, The Bees, was the winner of the 2011 Costa Poetry Award.

"I am hugely honoured and moved to receive an award which commemorates one of the greatest English writers of the 20th Century," said Duffy.

Lady Fraser was joined on the judging panel by playwright and director Sir David Hare, Lord Melvyn Bragg and novelists Dame Margaret Drabble and Gillian Slovo, who is president of English Pen.

English Pen is the founding centre of a worldwide association of writers designed to promote literature and defend free expression.

The Pinter prize was established in 2009 by the association, in memory of the Nobel-winning playwright, and honours a British writer, or writer resident in Britain, who - in Pinter's words - shows "a fierce intellectual determination... to define the real truth of our lives and societies".

Previous winners include Sir David Hare, Hanif Kureishi and Tony Harrison.

As in past years, Duffy will share her prize with an international writer, who has been persecuted for speaking out about their beliefs. Duffy will select the winner in association with the English Pen Writers at Risk Committee.

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