Playwright Sir David Hare wins 2011 PEN/Pinter Prize

This year’s PEN/Pinter Prize is to be awarded to the playwright, Sir David Hare.  The judges this year were Hanif Kureishi, Lady Antonia Fraser, Gillian Slovo, Claire Tomalin and Michael Billington.

David Hare will be presented with his prize at a public event at the British Library on 10 October. English playwright and theatre and film director David Hare has received huge critical acclaim over the last 40 years. Many of his plays offer a portrait of contemporary Britain and some of his notable works include Plenty (Faber and Faber, 1978),The Absence of War (Faber and Faber, 1993) and The Blue Room ¬(Faber and Faber, 1998). His numerous awards include a BAFTA, a Golden Bear and an Olivier Award. He was knighted in 1998.

Lady Antonia Fraser, Harold Pinter’s widow, comments:

“In the course of his long, distinguished career, David Hare has never failed to speak out fearlessly on the subject of politics in the broadest sense; this courage, combined with his rich creative talent, makes him a worthy winner of the PEN/Pinter Prize”.

The PEN/Pinter Prize was established in 2009 by the writers’ charity English PEN in memory of the Nobel-winning playwright Harold Pinter. The Prize is awarded annually to a British writer or a writer resident in Britain of outstanding literary merit 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 prize is shared with an imprisoned writer of courage selected by English PEN’s Writers in Prison Committee in association with David Hare. This half of the prize is awarded to someone who has been persecuted for speaking out about their beliefs. The winner will be announced at the public event on 10 October where they will accept their prize alongside David Hare.

The British Library is the home of Harold Pinter’s archive. David Hare will make a speech at the British Library event and this will be published afterwards by Faber and Faber.

Tickets, prices £7.50 (£5 concessions), are available via, by calling 01937 546546 (Mon-Fri 9am-5pm), or in person at the British Library. Press tickets are available. Please call Rachel Duffield at Colman Getty on 020 7631 2666.

Notes to Editors

  • Sir David Hare was a co-founder of the Portable Theatre Company acting, directing and writing plays from the late 1960s. His first play Slag (Faber and Faber) was produced in London at the Hampstead Theatre Club in 1970. He was a resident dramatist at the Royal Court Theatre, London and later at the Nottingham Playhouse.

    In 1975 he co-founded the Joint Stock Theatre Company. He began writing for the National Theatre in 1978 where his plays included Plenty (Faber and Faber, 1978), a portrait of disillusionment in post-war Britain and Pravda; and A Fleet Street Comedy, an attack on the English Press written by Howard Brenton (Methuen, 1985). He became an Associate Director of the National Theatre in 1984 and has since seen many of his plays produced such as The Absence of War (Faber and Faber, 1993) about three British institutions – the Anglican church, the legal system and the Labour Party.   He has also adapted Chekhov’s Ivanov (Methuen, 1997) and Platanov (Faber and Faber, 2001).

    More recent plays include The Permanent Way (Faber and Faber, 2003) the story of a political dream turned sour which explores the privatisation of British Rail and opened at the National Theatre in January 2004. His play Stuff Happens (Faber and Faber, 2004) was premiered at the same theatre in 2005, and is about the invasion of Iraq.  David Hare was knighted in 1998 and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.

  • English PEN is the founding centre of a worldwide writers’ association, with centres in more than one hundred countries, whose members work to promote literature and defend free expression.
  • English PEN’s Writers in Prison Committee (WiPC) was established in 1960 to campaign on behalf of imprisoned writers around the world.
  • The PEN/Pinter Prize is supported by the generosity of Ruth Maxted, the Thompson Family Charitable Trust and an anonymous donor.
  • Harold Pinter (10 October 1930 – 24 December 2008) was a Vice President of English PEN. He visited Turkey on behalf of the WiPC with Arthur Miller in 1985, where they were escorted by Orhan Pamuk.
  • The British Library is the national library of the United Kingdom and one of the world’s greatest research libraries. It provides world class information services to the academic, business, research and scientific communities and offers unparalleled access to the world’s largest and most comprehensive research collection. The Library’s collection has developed over 250 years and exceeds 150 million separate items representing every age of written civilisation and includes books, journals, manuscripts, maps, stamps, music, patents, photographs, newspapers and sound recordings in all written and spoken languages. Up to 10 million people visit the British Library website –  – every year where they can view up to 4 million digitised collection items and over 40 million pages.

Public event information

10 October 2011, 6.30pm

The Conference Centre
The British Library
96 Euston Road

Prices £7.50 (£5 concessions). Tickets are available via,  or by calling 01937 546546

For more information please contact Rachel Duffield at Colman Getty
020 7631 2666 /

Or Miki Lentin, British Library
020 7412 7112 /

Originally posted with the url:

About English PEN staff

This content is published by the English PEN staff.

View all posts by English PEN staff →

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *