Atwood takes the prize

Margaret Atwood has won the 2016 PEN-Pinter prize.

Margaret Atwood has said that she is humbled to win an award from PEN celebrating her political activism, describing herself as “a stand-in for the thousands of people around the world who speak and act against [human rights] abuses”.

The PEN Pinter prize was set up seven years ago in memory of the Nobel prize-winning playwright Harold Pinter, and is given to a writer of outstanding literary merit who, in the words of Pinter himself on winning the Nobel, 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”.

The Booker prize-winning Canadian author was picked by a judging panel chaired by Maureen Freely, who said: “In a profession dominated by careerists who are content to tend to their own gardens, Margaret Atwood is the shining exception.

“She does not just stand up for her principles: in novel after novel, she has put them to the test. What she does as a campaigner has only served to deepen her work as a writer of fiction. She is an inspiration to us all,” said Freely.

And the best part is she gets to name a co-winner. Now that would be a pleasing opportunity.

Atwood will now choose a co-winner of the prize, the 2016 International Writer of Courage, who will be revealed at an event at the British Library in October. The winner, said PEN, would be an international writer “who is active in defence of freedom of expression, often at great risk to their own safety and liberty”, with previous recipients including Gomorrah author Roberto Saviano, Mexican journalist Lydia Cacho and the imprisoned Saudi blogger Raif Badawi.

So many to choose from.

In other news, Catherine Deveny is back on Facebook.

3 Responses to “Atwood takes the prize”