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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.”

Actor Charlie Layburn reads the winning 2019 Pinter Poem

2019 Pinter Poem

The winner of the 2019 Pinter Poem award – chosen from those submitted throughout the year to Inside Time, the national newspaper for prisoners, is “Arcade Behind Prison” by Joseph Spencer at HMP Leeds. It was read as the closing act of the 2019 Longford Lecture by actor Charlie Layburn.

Read the winning entry.

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, 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.