List of awards and honours received by Harold Pinter

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Honours and awards to Harold Pinter lists (in chronological order) honours, awards, prizes, and honorary degrees received by English playwright Harold Pinter (1930–2008), which often acknowledge his international importance and his reach beyond national and regional boundaries.


Pinter declined a British knighthood in 1996, when it was offered to him on behalf of Queen Elizabeth II by British Prime Minister John Major, then leader of the Conservative Party.[1] Despite his declining it, many in the media (both in the UK and elsewhere) still refer erroneously to Pinter as "Sir Harold Pinter".[2][3]

In addition to having already been made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 1966, he accepted the award of Companion of Honour (CH) for services to Literature from the British monarch in 2002. He was presented the Nobel Prize in Literature in December 2005 and the French Légion d'honneur in January 2007.

He was awarded academic honorary degrees at the University of Leeds, in April 2007 (in person), at which its Humanities faculty processed in full academic garb solely to present the honorary doctorate to Pinter;[4] at the University of Kragujevac, in Serbia;[5] and at the University of Cambridge, in June 2008 (both of the latter in absentia).[6] In December 2007, the British Library announced that it had acquired his literary archive for over £1.1 million (approx. US$2.24 million) on behalf of the British nation.[2]

After having accepted the honorary presidency of the Central School of Speech and Drama, a constituent college of the University of London, in October 2008, he received an honorary fellowship during its honorary degree ceremony, also in absentia, due to ill health, on 10 December 2008,[7][8] two weeks before his death from cancer on 24 December 2008.[9]

Honours, awards, and prizes[edit]

Honorary degrees[edit]

Europe Theatre Prize[edit]

In 2006, he was awarded the X Europe Theatre Prize, in Turin, with the following motivation:

Harold Pinter started out as an actor in 1951. In 2005 he won the Nobel Prize for Literature. In the intervening half-century he has been many things: playwright, screen-writer, director, poet and performer. But his greatest achievement has been to re-write the rules of drama. He has created poetry out of everyday speech with its pauses, hesitations and repetitions. He has constantly explored, like a theatrical Proust, the pervasive power of memory. And, in a sequence of remarkable plays from The Room (1957) to Celebration (2000), he has demolished the idea of the omniscient author: instead of manipulating character to a chosen end, Pinter presents the evidence as he sees it and allows the spectator freedom of interpretation. But, although Pinter is a true theatrical poet, his work and life are filled with a moral rage against injustice. He is a political writer, not in the sense of endorsing a party ideology but in his assault on the abuse of human dignity and the mis-use of language by those in power. There are many other facets to Pinter: the Cockney humourist, the skilled movie-writer, the heavyweight actor, the cricket-loving Englishman. But, if Pinter's plays are performed the world over, it is because they touch a universal chord. And what everyone recognises is that we live in a world of fear and anxiety briefly alleviated by memories of past happiness. Pinter speaks to audiences everywhere and to generations yet unborn; which makes him an ideal recipient of the Europe Theatre Prize.[17]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Michael White, "Queen's Birthday Honours: Arise Sir Mick, But Pinter Takes Surprise Top Honour", The Guardian 15 June 2002, accessed 16 December 2007.
  2. ^ a b "Library Buys Harold Pinter Archive for £1m", The Daily Telegraph (London) 11 December 2007, accessed 16 December 2007, announcing the British Library's acquisition of his literary archive.
  3. ^ Charlie Rose, in "A Conversation with Actor Ian McShane" (Max) Archived 29 March 2008 at the Wayback Machine, Charlie Rose, PBS, broadcast of 24 March 2008, accessed 25 March 2008. ("A conversation with actor Ian McShane about his role in the 40th Anniversary Broadway revival of Harold Pinter's The Homecoming.")
  4. ^ "Pinter Receives Honorary Degree", BBC News 13 April 2007, accessed 8 October 2007.
  5. ^ "Doctor Honoris Causa honorary titles". University of Kragujevac official website. University of Kragujevac. Archived from the original on 16 March 2011. Retrieved 17 October 2010.
  6. ^ "News and Events: Cambridge Honorary Degrees 2008". 27 February 2008. Archived from the original on 3 May 2008. Retrieved 23 June 2008. Harold Pinter, playwright, actor and director (Doctor of Letters). ... Honorary Degrees [were] conferred at a special Congregation ... held in the Senate House on Monday 23 June. [Pinter did not attend the ceremony due to ill health.]
  7. ^ "Degree Honour for Playwright Pinter". AOL (UK). 10 December 2008. Retrieved 13 March 2009.[dead link]
  8. ^ "Central's 2008 Graduation Ceremony". Central School of Speech and Drama (University of London). 12 December 2008. Archived from the original on 4 February 2009. Retrieved 1 January 2009. Honorary Fellowships for Harold Pinter, Jo Brand and Penny Francis.
  9. ^ Mark Taylor-Batty, comp. "In Memoriam". Harold Pinter Society Webpages. The Harold Pinter Society and the University of Leeds. Archived from the original on 10 February 2009. Retrieved 1 January 2009. Harold Pinter - playwright, poet, actor, director, political activist - died on 24 December 2008, aged 78.
  10. ^ "No. 44004". The London Gazette (Supplement). 11 June 1966. p. 6539.
  11. ^ "South Bank Prize for Craig David", BBC News 25 January 2001, accessed 15 September 2007: "Harold Pinter - regarded by many as Britain's greatest living playwright - received the award for outstanding achievement." (Features photograph of Harold Pinter receiving the award for "outstanding achievement in the arts.")
  12. ^ Leslie Kane (2004). "Introduction". The Art of Crime: The Plays and Film of Harold Pinter and David Mamet. Psychology Press. p. 2.
  13. ^ "Golden Pen Award, official website". English PEN. Retrieved 3 December 2012.
  14. ^ "Travel Advisory: Toronto Festival Honors 14 Leaders in the Arts", The New York Times 9 September 2001.
  15. ^ "X EDIZIONE". Premio Europa per il Teatro (in Italian). Retrieved 29 December 2022.
  16. ^ "X Edition - pinter_motivazioni (Letter of Motivation)" Archived 27 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine. Europe Theatre Prize (X. ed.), 2006. Web. 9 March 2009. (Italian and English). [Hyperlinked program and related events.]
  17. ^ "Europe Theatre Prize - X Edition - pinter_motivazioni". Retrieved 29 December 2022.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]