Entertainment & Arts

Sir Tom Stoppard wins annual Pen Pinter prize

Sir Tom Stoppard
Image caption Sir Tom Stoppard was knighted in 1997

Playwright Sir Tom Stoppard has been named as the recipient of this year's Pen Pinter prize.

The award was established in 2009 by writers' charity Pen - which promotes freedom of expression - in memory of the British writer Harold Pinter.

Sir Tom, 76, will be presented with the prize at the British Library on 7 October and will deliver an address.

Alongside plays like Arcadia, he is known for co-writing the Oscar-winning screenplay for Shakespeare in Love.

His other stage work includes The Real Thing and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead.

This year's panel of judges - which selects an "unflinching, unswerving" writer for the honour - included Christopher Bland, 2012 winner and former Children's Laureate Carol Ann Duffy, Antonia Fraser, David Lan and the president of English Pen, and chair of judges, Gillian Slovo.

South African-born novelist Slovo said the judges "agreed unanimously that Tom's lifetime's work meets the challenging criteria set by Harold Pinter when he described those characteristics he most admired in a writer... those of courage and truthfulness, a determination to tell things as they are.''

Sir Tom paid tribute to Pinter - who died in 2008 aged 78 - calling him "one of the reasons I wanted to write plays".

He added: "I had the sense not to attempt a 'Pinter play', but in other respects, as the years went by, he became and remained a model for the kind of fearless integrity which Pen exists to defend among writers."

Sir Tom will share his prize with an international writer of courage, selected by him and Pen's Writers at Risk committee.

Last year Carol Ann Duffy shared the prize with exiled Syrian author Samar Yazbek, whose book A Woman in the Crossfire was based on diaries she kept during the early stages of the Syrian conflict.

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