In a ceremony at the British Library, which holds the late Harold Pinter's archives, Harrison delivered his acceptance lecture entitled The Inky Digit of Defiance - a digit which he said symbolised his commitment 'to a vote in favour of the dumb or the silenced being given a voice, of totally free speech'.
Following the economium delivered by Nicholas Hytner, Artistic Director of the National Theatre, Lady Antonia Fraser, Harold Pinter's widow, spoke movingly about her husband's commitment to English PEN and his love of prizes, which she said he described as 'salutations to literature'. She said there could be a no more fitting first recipient of this prize in her husband's memory, before presenting Tony Harrison with a framed cartoon featuring Harold Pinter, drawn by Steve Bell on the occasion of Pinter winning the Nobel Prize for Literature.
Friday, October 16, 2009
English PEN, which promotes literature as a means of greater understanding between cultures, has awarded the first PEN/Pinter Prize to the poet Tony Harrison.