Margaret Atwood, famed poet, novelist, and Future Library Project participant, has been awarded with the PEN Pinter Prize, which awards writers from “Britain, the Republic of Ireland, or the Commonwealth” who champion free speech. She’ll receive the award on October 13, at a ceremony held at the British Library, in London.
The award, founded in 2009, is named for the late Nobel-winning playwright Harold Pinter, who throughout his life was outspokenly activist. The winner of the prize is decided by a panel of judges, who said of Atwood, “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.”
For Atwood’s part, she had actually worked with Pinter before, on the film version of her work, The Handmaid’s Tale. She described her experience with him positively, saying, “and his burning sense of injustice at human rights abuses and the repression of artists was impressive even then.”
As a recipient of the Pinter Prize, Atwood will be responsible for helping to choose the recipient of the International Writer of Courage prize, which goes to writers who have faced and ought persecution. Former winners of the Pinter Prize include James Fenton, Salman Rushdie, Tom Stoppard, Carol Ann Duffy, David Hare, Hanif Kureishi, and Tony Harrison.