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Michael Longley wins PEN Pinter prize for 'unflinching, unswerving' poetry


Northern Irish writer praised by judges for his ‘fierce intellectual determination’ wins annual award in memory of the late Nobel laureate

Belfast poet Michael Longley, whom Seamus Heaney described as “a custodian of griefs and wonders”, has been awarded the 2017 PEN Pinter prize. The prize has a personal resonance for the poet, who is one of the most significant figures in Irish poetry. Not only is he an admirer of Harold Pinter, after whom the award was named, but the playwright had spurred him on as a young poet.

The prize is awarded annually to a British, Irish or Commonwealth writer of outstanding literary merit whose work embodies the words of Pinter’s Nobel laureate speech by casting an “unflinching, unswerving” gaze upon the world and showing a “fierce intellectual determination … to define the real truth of our lives and our societies”.

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