Thursday, October 13, 2005

A Minutes Silence

Harold Pinter, the English dramatist, has won the Nobel Prize for Literature. A surprise, in many ways, it really shouldn't be. He's just celebrated his 75th, and it generally seen as a lifetime achievement award. Also, the Academy still holds playwrights in high regard, Pinter has been a poltically inclined, if not political writer, and the last English winner was William Golding (I don't think you can really count V.S. Naipaul as the Guardian does), in the mists of time. Also, I'm personally very pleased, since his writing has always been an influence - not always to the good - certainly his dialogue and his view of how dialogue should be written is a very powerful one. Pinteresque dialogue seems more real to me than many of the more vernacular types of dialogue in literary novels. My novel "High Wire" tried to use Pinter as my dialogue model, (by trying to make dialogue un-novelistic, i.e. more like Pinter, I was trying to create something more natural, but because it read different than much novelistic dialogue some readers thought it unrealistic!) I saw "Dumb Waiter" at Edinburgh last year, think "Betrayal" is one of the best structured and most original plays of my lifetime, and despite certain misgivings at the inherent nihilism of "The Birthday Party" cannot deny its spooky power. He no longer writes plays, but unaccountably poor poetry, but its for his plays that this honour is given, and is justified. It has been said before (Alan Bennett, I believe) that a suitable tribute to Pinter would be a two minute silence - in honour of the "pauses" in his writing - but I think even Pinter deserves a little cheer today.

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