Writer and performance poet Michael Rosen will receive the PEN Pinter Prize 2023 in a ceremony co-hosted by English PEN and the British Library on 11 October 2023, where he will deliver an address.
The prize will be shared with a Writer of Courage: a writer who is active in defence of freedom of expression, often at great risk to their own safety and liberty. The co-winner, selected by Michael Rosen from a shortlist of international cases supported by English PEN, will be announced at the event.
This event takes place in the British Library and will be simultaneously live streamed on the British Library platform. Tickets may be booked either to attend in person, or to watch on the British Library platform (online) either live or within 48 hours on catch up. Viewing links will be sent out shortly before the event.
The Prize judges – Chair of English PEN, Ruth Borthwick; poet, educator and writer Raymond Antrobus; and Executive Director of international touring theatre company, Complicité, and writer Amber Massie-Blomfield – praised Rosen’s work, saying he ‘has a rare, invaluable gift: the ability to address the most serious matters of life in a spirit of joy, humour, and hope. Fearless in holding power to account.’
The PEN Pinter Prize was established in 2009 by English PEN in memory of Nobel-Laureate playwright Harold Pinter. The prize is awarded annually to a writer of outstanding literary merit resident in the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland or the Commonwealth who, in the words of Harold Pinter’s Nobel Prize in Literature 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 PEN Pinter Prize is supported by the generosity of the Blavatnik Family Foundation and Ruth Maxted.
Michael Rosen is one of Britain’s best loved writers and performance poets for children and adults. His first degree in English Literature and Language was from Wadham College, Oxford and he went on to study for an MA at the University of Reading and a PhD at the former University of North London, now London Metropolitan. He is currently Professor of Children’s Literature at Goldsmiths, University of London where he teaches critical approaches to reading on an MA in Children’s Literature. He has taught on MA courses in universities since 1994. He was the Children’s Laureate from 2007–2009 and has published over 200 books for children and adults, including the recent bestseller Many Different Kinds of Love and On the Move: Poems about Migration.
Image of Michael Rosen © Helen Weinstein @ HistoryWorks