Playwright wins Nobel Prize for Literature

Award leaves former Chiswick resident, Harold Pinter, 'speechless'

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Harold Pinter winner of

Nobel Prize for Literature 2005

Playwright's former Chiswick home for sale

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Former Chiswick resident Harold Pinter was yesterday awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.  The playwright was left 'speechless' upon hearing that he had been chosen for the illustrious award which carries a cheque for US$1.3million (£741,500).

Pinter is quoted in the Guardian as saying "I heard the news of the prize at 20 to 12 this morning, only 20 minutes before the official announcement. It had never occurred to me that I was a contender. They called me and said you're going to receive a call from the chairman of the Nobel committee and I think I said 'why?'. The chairman said 'You've won the Nobel Prize for Literature.' I was speechless and remained so for another couple of minutes. But I was very moved by this even though I hadn't really taken it in. Why they've given me this prize I don't know."

Harold Pinter's reputation was established in 1960 with his second full-length play, The Caretaker, whose events have distinct parallels with experiences in Pinter’s life in Chiswick with his first wife, Vivien, and their son, Daniel.  Their former Chiswick home, said to be the inspiration behind the squalid, leaky setting of his most famous work, recently came up for sale. 

The playwright - who was a tenant at 373 Chiswick High Road between 1958 and 1963 - based the characters of Aston and Mick on two real-life brothers who also lived there. When the brothers invited a tramp to stay at the house, Pinter found easy inspiration for the play's third character: the itinerant Davies.

Michael Billington's biography of Pinter quotes him as saying: 'It was a very threadbare existence ... I was totally out of work. So I was very close to this old derelict's world, in a way.'

Now a world away from his 'squalid' Chiswick days, Harold Pinter celebrated his 75th birthday last Monday 10th October.

October 14, 2005