The freedom of the writer with David Hare and Roberto Saviano

In this, their first meeting, Hare and Saviano will discuss the freedom of the writer and reflect on their own – very different – journeys as writers. The event will take place at 7pm on Thursday 26 May at the Emmanuel Centre in Westminster, London.

In 2011 playwright and director Sir David Hare accepted the PEN Pinter Prize awarded by English PEN for – in the words of Harold Pinter’s Nobel speech – showing a ‘fierce intellectual determination … to define the real truth of our lives and our societies’. In his work for stage, David Hare reflects the issues of contemporary British society and has tackled key institutions including the Anglican Church, the legal system and the Labour Party.

Acclaimed Italian investigative journalist Roberto Saviano has been living under police protection since 2006 after receiving death threats from criminal organisations following the publication of his book Gomorrah, in which he exposed the workings of Neapolitan crime syndicate the Camorra. He was chosen by David Hare to share the 2011 PEN Pinter Prize as the International Writer of Courage for risking his life in the pursuit of truth.

Antonia Fraser, widow of Harold Pinter, said: ‘Harold Pinter would have felt honoured to have his name associated with these two brave and outspoken writers’.

Maureen Freely, President of English PEN, said: ‘Every  year the winner of the PEN Pinter Prize has shared the honour with a writer of courage; all too often those writers have been unable to join us.  The words they send us from their prison cells and places of refuge have given us much to consider, and it has been sad to see the conversations end there.  Now we shall have a chance to see two winners together, comparing notes, exchanging ideas, and through their very presence demonstrating the central importance of free expression’.

Tickets can be purchased for £30.

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David Hare was born in Sussex in 1947. He is the author of 31 plays for the stage, 17 of which have been National Theatre productions. These include Plenty, The Secret Rapture, Amy’s View, Via Dolorosa, Stuff Happens, Gethsemane, The Power of Yes, Racing Demon, The Absence of War and South Downs. His over 20 screenplays for cinema and television include Licking Hitler, Damage, The Hours and The Reader. He recently wrote and directed a trilogy of films for the BBC: Page Eight, Turks & Caicos and Salting the Battlefield.

Roberto Saviano was born in 1979 in Naples. He is an Italian writer, author of several books including  ZeroZeroZero and the international bestseller Gomorrah: A Personal Journey into the Violent International Empire of Naples’s Organized Crime System, which has sold over ten million copies in 50 languages worldwide. Saviano has been living under police protection since October 2006, following threats received from the criminal organisations that he denounced. In November 2008 Saviano was invited by the Nobel Committee in Stockholm to give a lecture on ‘Freedom of Speech and Lawless Violence’. His new book My Italians: True Stories of Crime and Courage, translated by Anne Milano Appel, will be published in May 2016 by Penguin. His writing appears in The New York Times, Vice, Die Zeit, the Guardian, El Paìs, Le Monde and La Repubblica.


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