Trinity alumnus Michael Longley has been awarded the 2017 PEN Pinter award for his poetry. He will receive the award at a ceremony in the British Library on October 10th, where he will also give an address.
The annual prize, first established in 2009, is awarded to a writer from the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland or the Commonwealth in memory of the Nobel Prize winning laureate, Harold Pinter. The prize is awarded to those who, in the words of Printer’s Nobel Prize acceptance speech, display “unflinching, unswerving” literature and show a “fierce intellectual determination … to define the real truth of our lives and our societies”.
Katherine Paterson, a judge for the award, said: “Whether writing as a celebrant, critic, memoirist or elegist, he has precisely the ‘unswerving gaze’ Pinter called for, one often fixed on figures in the margins and shadows whose lives are often left untroubled by literary description, but who, Longley insistently reminds us, have their own heroism, tragedy and nobility, and whose stories reveal the ‘real truth of our lives’.”
When speaking of the prize, Longley said: “Harold Pinter encouraged me in my youth. So, for personal as well as literary and political reasons I am moved and honoured by this award.”
Longley studied Classics in Trinity where he wrote for the periodical, Icarus. In 1969, Longley published his first collection of poetry named “No Continuing City”. Longley has won numerous literary awards from the T.S. Eliot Prize to the Hawthornden Award.