PEN Pinter Prize

The PEN Pinter Prize was established in 2009 in memory of the Nobel-winning playwright Harold Pinter.


The Prize is awarded annually to a writer from Britain, the Republic of Ireland or the Commonwealth who, in the words of Harold Pinter’s Nobel speech, 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’.  The winner must the author of a significant body of plays, poetry, or fiction of outstanding literary merit, written in English.

The prize is shared with an international writer of courage selected by English PEN’s Writers at Risk Committee in association with the winner. This half of the prize is awarded to someone who has been persecuted for speaking out about their beliefs.

Joining Maureen Freely, Chair of Judges and President of English PEN, and Antonia Fraser, historian, biographer and widow of Harold Pinter, the judges of the 2016 PEN Pinter Prize are Vicky Featherstone, Artistic Director of the Royal Court Theatre, award-winning novelist Zia Haider Rahman, and Peter Stothard, Editor of the Times Literary Supplement.

In June 2016, English PEN announced that the winner of the 2016 PEN Pinter Prize is the novelist, poet and environmental campaigner Margaret Atwood. She will receive her award at a public event at the British Library on the evening of Thursday 13 October, where she will deliver an address and announce the winner of the 2016 PEN Pinter International Writer of Courage.

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Previous Winners

Year British Winner International Winner
2015 James Fenton Raif Badawi
2014 Sir Salman Rushdie Mazen Darwish
2013 Sir Tom Stoppard Iryna Khalip
2012 Carol Ann Duffy Samar Yazbek
2011 Sir David Hare Roberto Saviano
2010 Hanif Kureishi Lydia Cacho
2009 Tony Harrison Zarganar (Maung Thura)

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