Carol Ann Duffy wins Pen Pinter prize

Britain’s lesbian poet laureate wins prize in memory of Harold Pinter

Carol Ann Duffy wins Pen Pinter prize
13 July 2012

Britain’s lesbian poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy has won the 2012 Pen Pinter prize. The annual prize is awarded to any British writer or writer living in Britain of ‘outstanding literary merit’.

Awarded since 2009, the prize was set up in memory of playwright Harold Pinter who said in his Nobel prize speech that good writing should cast an ‘unflinching, unswerving’ gaze on the world and show ‘fierce intellectual determination… to define the real truth of our lives and our societies’.

PEN International, a charity campaigning for the freedom to write and read all over the world, supports the prize, which combines a British winner with an international writer who has been persecuted for their beliefs.

Previous British winners were Tony Harrison, Hanif Kureshi and Sir David Hare, who were joined by the international writers Zarganar (Maung Thura), Lydia Cacho and Roberto Saviano.

Duffy will chose this year’s international winner with the English Pen writers at risk committee.

It was rumored that Duffy missed out on becoming poet laureate, a honorary position awarded since 1707 by the UK’s monarch and prime minister, in 1999 because then prime minister Tony Blair didn’t think a lesbian should have the position.

However in 2009 she became the first female poet laureate. Prime Minister Gordon Brown said she was a ‘truly brilliant modern poet’.

In a 2005 interview by Jeanette Winterson, Duffy said: ‘I’m not a lesbian poet, whatever that is. If I am a lesbian icon and a role model, that’s great, but if it is a word that is used to reduce me, then you have to ask why someone would want to reduce me? I never think about it. I don’t care about it. I define myself as a poet and as a mother – that’s all.’



No thumbnail available

US folk star Jenny Owen Youngs comes out as lesbian and is engaged

US folk musician Jenny Owen Youngs has revealed that she is in a committed lesbian relationship and plans to marry her partner in a letter to fans
No thumbnail available

Are gays deserting Facebook and flocking to Ello instead?

The recent row over Facebook’s name change policy has angered many LGBTI users, some of whom have now opted to sign up for an Ello account, prompting a surge in popularity of the social network
No thumbnail available

Stephen Colbert pledges to no longer speak about pretending to oppose same-sex marriage

Pretend conservative Comedy Central talking head Stephen Colbert has pledged to stop talking about opposing same-sex marriage in solidarity with Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker who has said he will no longer state his opinion on the issue
No thumbnail available

Trans sex workers among China's most discriminated groups

Report finds the women face 'amplified stigma' due to their gender and job
No thumbnail available

Pastor who warned of ‘trans predators’ preyed on women

A religious city worker testified against a LGBTI rights ordinance bill that would give trans people the right to choose which bathroom they use
No thumbnail available

Black support for US gay marriage down to 'civil rights'

Majority of African-Americans favor same-sex marriage rights in the US, claims prominent black campaigner
No thumbnail available

DOMA lawyer uses 1885 case to support the law

Defense of Marriage Act lawyer returns to a 1885 polygamy ruling to defend the law
No thumbnail available

The world's 18 best gay beaches

Gay Star News brings you our readers’ guide to the world’s beaches for ‘gay beach time’ (also known as GBT)
No thumbnail available

Joburg activists want to put politics back into gay pride

Parade protesters accuse pride in SA capital of a ‘white male’ culture and ‘commercialised’ image
Sandra Day O'Connor marries gay couple at US Supreme Court

Sandra Day O'Connor marries gay couple at US Supreme Court

Former justice once voted to uphold Boy Scouts of America's ban on gays