October 19, 2010 / 11:06 PM / 8 years ago

Pinter's awards acquired by British Library

LONDON (Reuters Life!) - Harold Pinter’s Nobel Prize medal and the bronze mask of the BAFTA fellowship are among more than 50 awards belonging to the late playwright that have been acquired by the British Library.

The national library acquired Pinter’s archive in 2007, and his widow Antonia Fraser said he would have been pleased his papers and awards were to be kept together.

“This is what Harold would have wanted,” the historian said on Wednesday.

“He was extremely proud of his awards but even prouder of his manuscripts, already in the British Library. He used to say that the manuscripts earned the awards so it is right that they should be together.”

Pinter died in 2008 aged 78.

The British Library acquired the collection of medals, medallions, plaques, statuettes and artworks through the government’s “Acceptance in Lieu” scheme, whereby taxpayers can transfer heritage objects and works of art into public ownership.

As well as Pinter’s 2005 Nobel Prize in Literature medal and diploma, the collection includes his 1960 Evening Standard award for the best play of the year (for “The Caretaker”) and the bronze mask of the BAFTA fellowship.

His international appeal is underlined by a Tony, the Franz Kafka Award from the city of Prague, the Moliere d’honneur from France, the Pirandello award from Italy, the Orden de Chile and the Amistad Medal from Cuba.

The Herman Kesten Medal, presented by the German branch of human rights charity PEN, recognized his work on behalf of persecuted and imprisoned writers, while the 2004 Wilfred Owen Prize was awarded in response to the controversial poems that expressed his opposition to the Iraq War.

Kathryn Johnson, curator of theatrical manuscripts at the British Library, said Pinter’s Nobel Prize medal would now sit alongside handwritten notes and 19 typed drafts, covered in annotations, of his acceptance speech already in the collection.

Pinter was unable to deliver the speech in person due to ill health, but his videotaped address was screened at the Swedish Academy in 2005.

Reporting by Mike Collett-White; Editing by Steve Addison

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