By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson
Writing ‘for the most demanding and honest audience’
Blackman, a former holder of the Waterstones Sponsored Children’s Book Author Laureate designation in England, an honor currently held by Cresida Cowell, will be honored at a ceremony at the British Library on October 10. She will give an address at that time and name a co-winner of the award, who will be recognized as PEN’s “International Writer of Courage”, drawn from “a list of international cases endorsed by English PEN”.
As you may recall, the PEN Pinter Prize annually honors “a writer from Great Britain, the Republic of Ireland or the Commonwealth who, in the words of Nobel Laureate Harold Pinter [Prize] speech, casts a ‘resolute and unflinching’ gaze on the world, and displays a ‘fierce intellectual determination… to define the real truth of our lives and our societies'”.
Pinter, especially near the end of his celebrated career, focused on human rights transgressions, especially in the area of torture, but also explorations of linguistic suppression, abuse of power, and authoritarianism. He would find the current era fertile.
In recognizing the award today, Blackman is quoted as saying: “I am truly honored and more than a little stunned to be the recipient. of the PEN Pinter Prize 2022.
“I have long admired Harold Pinter for his courage and dedication to human rights and social justice and have always believed in the power of the creative arts to connect ad communicate with others. I especially believe in the power of fiction to highlight the truth and feel truly blessed that I predominantly write for the most discerning and honest audience: young adults and children.
“Thank you English PEN for considering me a worthy recipient of this award.”
Blackman’s prodigious output includes more than 70 books for children and young adults. she is graduated from the National Film and Television School. His television work includes Boy with a pig’s heartshortlisted for the Carnegie Medal), which was adapted into a BAFTA-winning six-part television series. She co-wrote the doctor who episode titled roses.
She was named 2005 Eleanor farjeon Award recipient. In 2008, she was honored with an OBE for her services to children’s literature. Blackman’s term as cThe children’s laureate was between 2013 and 2015. End of the gameReleased in September, it is the sixth and final installment in his Noughts and Crosses series from Penguin Random House UK.
Daniel Hahn: ‘A serious commitment writer’
The members of the jury for this year’s selection are author, editor, translator and founder of the TA Translation First Prize Daniel Hahn; editor and broadcaster Margaret Busby; and the president of English PEN, Ruth Borthwick.
In the comments, Hahn says: “Encouraging young people to get involved in political and social issues is vital work, and no one has done it better than Malorie Blackman.
“Many of his books raise ethical and moral questions, with narrative energy and uncompromising honesty, often featuring characters who find themselves in complex situations, challenging young readers to think and question.
“A writer seriously committed to her readers and to the power of stories.”
Busby says that Blackman’s “commitment to the fact that young adult reading, as wHow exciting the imagination can shape a lifelong ethical commitment to issues of social and political justice, such as racism and cultural difference, is outstanding.
“For more than two decades has delivered visionary and challenging work that resonates far beyond the written page.”
And Borthwick says: “This is the first time the PEN Pinter Prize has been awarded to a young writer, so it is to be hoped [that winner] be exceptional.
“Malorie Blackman has transformed the world of writing for young adults.
“Her work never speaks ill, and her readers have responded by taking her to their hearts.
“Malorie has created dynamic imaginary worlds in which her protagonists live and challenge issues of injustice in a totally engaging way, as she is, above all else, a wonderful storyteller.”
Past winners of the PEN Pinter Prize:
- Tsitsi Dangarembga (2021)
- Linton Kwesi Johnson (2020)
- lemon sissay (2019)
- Chimamanda Ngozie adichie (2018)
- Michael Longley (2017)
- Margaret Atwood (2016)
- James Fenton (2015)
- Salman Rushdie (2014)
- Tom Stoppard (2013)
- Carol Ann Duffy (2012)
- David Hare (2011)
- hanif Kureishi (2010)
- Tony Harrison (2009)
Former International Courage Writers:
- Kakwenza rukirabashaija (2021)
- to Manuel Ashrath (2020)
- Befeqadu hailu (2019)
- waleed abulkhair (2018)
- mahwash saber (2017)
- ahmedur Rashid Chowdhuri aka Tutul (2016)
- raiff badawi (2015)
- maze Darwin (2014)
- irina khalip (2013)
- samar Yazbek (2012)
- Robert Saviano (2011)
- Lidia Chub (2010)
- zarganar (Maung thura) (2009)
This is the publication of Perspectives’ 112th awards-related report produced in the 115 days of publication since our 2022 operations began on January 3.
More information on the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic and its impact on international book publishing is here.