Canadian novelist and poet Margaret Atwood has won the PEN Pinter Prize for her work championing environmental causes. 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.
The award announced this week was established in 2009 in memory of Nobel Prize-winning playwright Harold Pinter. It goes jointly to a British, Irish or Commonwealth writer seen as sharing Pinter's "unflinching, unswerving" social gaze and to an international writer who has faced persecution.
The judges praised Atwood as a ‘consistent supporter of political causes’, adding ‘her work championing environmental concerns comes well within the scope of human rights … she is a very important figure in terms of the principles of PEN and of Harold Pinter’. Pinter's widow, Antonia Fraser, said he had admired Atwood "as a writer, a campaigner and a person."
Atwood, whose novels include 'MaddAddam' and 'Oryx and Crake' said she was honoured to receive an award named for Pinter, who wrote the screenplay for an adaptation of her dystopian novel 'The Handmaid's Tale'.
As well as delivering the address at the British Library event in October, Margaret Atwood will announce her co-winner, the 2016 International Writer of Courage, selected from a shortlist of international cases supported by English PEN. The recipient will be an international writer who is active in defence of freedom of expression, often at great risk to their own safety and liberty. The 2015 PEN Pinter Prize was awarded to James Fenton, who shared the prize with Raif Badawi as the International Writer of Courage.
A limited edition booklet of Margaret Atwood’s British Library address will be published by Faber & Faber and available to the audience at the event.
Tickets will be on sale soon via the British Library website.