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The Pinter Poem – an award for poets in prison

“Poetry was central to the life of Harold Pinter and thus became central to our life together,” writes Antonia Fraser, widow of the Nobel Prize-winning playwright and poet (the couple are pictured above, on their wedding day). In his memory, and as Frank Longford’s daughter, she has established the Pinter Poem Award. “As an actor, Harold particularly enjoyed reading poetry aloud. In this way, we often read from the poems  printed in Inside Time. This lead to discussions about poetry, prisoners and what part writing poems might play in their lives.”

The 2023 Pinter Poem – “I’m Just A Wee Guy” by Michael Hulme from HMP Birmingham – was read at the conclusion of our 2023 Longford Lecture by the actor and broadcaster Michael Palin. Read the 2023 winning poem.

2020 Pinter Poem

The winner of the 2020 Pinter Poem award – chosen from those submitted throughout the year to Inside Time, the national newspaper for prisoners – was “An odour was all it took” by Joe Gynane at HMP Whitemoor. It was read (right) by one of our most distinguished actors, Ralph Fiennes.


An annual award

The Pinter Poem will be chosen on behalf of the Longford Trust each year from those published in Inside Time over the previous 12 months.  The winner will be notified before his or her poem is read at the annual Longford Lecture in November (in 2023 by Michael Palin, right), and they will receive prize money of £100.

“I had the inspiration that a prize for a Pinter Poem by a serving prisoner, selected by Inside Time, would be an appropriate way to salute Harold’s memory, his love of poetry, and the creative work of prisoners, all together.” Antonia Fraser

Read the poem that inspired Antonia here.