The British playwright Harold Pinter, an outspoken critic of the US-led war in Iraq, is the surprise winner of this year’s Nobel prize for literature.
Outside his London home, the 75-year old said the award came as a total surprise: “I feel quite overwhelmed, I had absolutely no idea until this morning and am quite taken aback.” Throughout his long career, Pinter has always championed human rights, while also writing and directing plays including “The Homecoming”, “The Birthday Party” and “The Caretaker”, many of which had distinct political content. His plays are known for their mundane dialogue, yet sinister overtones. This is the second Nobel this month with an anti-US flavour, after IAEA chief Mohammed el Baradei won the peace prize. Together with British members of parliament, Pinter campaigned against the first Iraq war. He likened US President George W Bush’s administration to the Nazis.