Salman Rushdie wins the PEN Pinter prize

Established in 2009, the PEN/Pinter prize is awarded every year to a writer of proven literary merit. It was recently declared that Pinter’s friend Rushdie would be this year’s recipient. Maureen Freely, chair of judges, said: “This prize is English PEN’s way of thanking Salman Rushdie not just for his books and his many years of speaking out for freedom of expression, but also for his countless private acts of kindness […] When he sees writers unjustly vilified, prosecuted, or forced into exile, he takes a personal interest. I think he would be the first to say that it was Harold Pinter who set the example in this regard: the engaged writer never sleeps.” Antonia Fraser commented that “Harold admired Salman Rushdie’s work profoundly long before he met him. This award would have meant a great deal to Harold who respected Salman twice over, both for his work and his great personal courage.”  Rushdie responded: “It’s very moving to receive an award named after my friend Harold Pinter, whose literary genius was matched by his passion for social justice, and to follow in the distinguished footsteps of the previous recipients.”

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