The prize is awarded annually to a British writer or writer resident in Britain of outstanding literary merit, who, in the words of Pinter's Nobel Literature Prize speech, casts an "unflinching, unswerving" gaze upon the world and shows a "fierce intellectual determination...to define the real truth of our lives and our societies."
Stoppard will received the prize at a public event to be held at the British Library Oct. 7, at which he will deliver an address. A limited edition booklet containing his presentation will be published by Faber and Faber and available to the audience at the event.
In a press statement, Stoppard commented, "Harold was one of the reasons I wanted to write plays. His work dominated the foreground of my thoughts about theatre in the few years before I sat down to try to write a play in 1960. I had the sense not to attempt a 'Pinter play,' but in other respects, as the years went by, he became and remained a model for the kind of fearless integrity which PEN exists to defend among writers, and most of us had occasion to feel humbled by his example."
The judging panel comprised Christopher Bland, 2012 winner Carol Ann Duffy, Antonia Fraser (Pinter's widow), David Lan (playwright and artistic director of the Young Vic Theatre) and Gillian Slovo (president of English PEN and Chair of Judges). In a press statement, Fraser commented, "Not only did Harold much admire Tom’s works but he also applauded his bold stance on public issues of all sorts, altogether a most suitable choice."
Stoppard’s prize will be shared with an International Writer of Courage, selected by him in association with English PEN’s Writers at Risk Committee, a writer who has been intimidated for speaking out about their beliefs. The co-winner will be announced at the Oct. 7 event at the British Library, where they will accept their prize alongside Stoppard.