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Letter of Motivation for the European Theatre Prize

Harold Pinter started out as an actor in 1951. In 2005 he won the Nobel Prize
for Literature. In the intervening half-century he has been many things:
playwright, screen-writer, director, poet and performer. But his greatest
achievement has been to re-write the rules of drama. He has
created poetry out of everyday speech with its pauses, hesitations and
repetitions. He has constantly explored, like a theatrical Proust, the
pervasive power of memory. And, in a sequence of remarkable plays from The Room
(1957) to Celebration (2000), he has demolished the idea of the
omniscient author: instead of manipulating character to a chosen end, Pinter
presents the evidence as he sees it and allows the spectator freedom of
But, although Pinter is a true theatrical poet, his work and life are filled
with a moral rage against injustice. He is a political writer, not in the sense
of endorsing a party ideology but in his assault on the abuse of human dignity
and the mis-use of language by those in power. There are
many other facets to Pinter: the Cockney humourist, the skilled movie-writer,
the heavyweight actor, the cricket-loving Englishman. But, if Pinter's plays
are performed the world over, it is because they touch a universal chord. And
what everyone recognises is that we live in a world of fear and anxiety briefly
alleviated by memories of past happiness. Pinter speaks to audiences everywhere
and to generations yet unborn; which makes him an ideal recipient of the Europe
Theatre Prize.