Sissay wins 2019 PEN Pinter Prize
In the UK, poet and playwright Lemn Sissay has been awarded the 2019 PEN Pinter Prize.
Prize judge Maureen Freely said: ‘In his every work, Lemn Sissay returns to the underworld he inhabited as an unclaimed child. From his sorrows, he forges beautiful words and a thousand reasons to live and love.’
Founded in 2009 in honour of the playwright Harold Pinter, the annual prize is awarded to a writer with a body of work that shows ‘outstanding literary merit’, who 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 prize is shared with an international writer of courage, selected by the winner in association with English PEN’s Writers at Risk Committee.
Sissay will receive the award and give a public address at the British Library on 10 October, where he will also announce the 2019 international writer of courage.