November 30, 2005

Pinter pulls out of Nobel events due to ill health

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Ill health has forced British
playwright Harold Pinter to cancel all public appearances
linked to his Nobel Prize for Literature, the Nobel Foundation
said on Wednesday.

Pinter had already pulled out of the award ceremony and
banquet, but had been due in Stockholm to give the traditional
Nobel literature lecture. This was canceled too.

"His doctors have forbidden him to travel at this time,"
the Foundation said in a statement. A pre-recorded speech will
instead be shown on a big screen on December 7.

The 75-year-old Londoner is one of Britain's best-known
dramatists for plays like "The Birthday Party" and "The

The Foundation gave no further details about his health.
When he was awarded the prize in October by the Swedish
Academy, he appeared for the media outside his home with his
face cut and bruised after a fall and he had a cane for
support. He was treated for cancer in 2002.

The Academy described Pinter as "the towering figure" in
English drama in the second half of the 20th century.

Critics had called him an unexpected but deserving choice
for the 10 million crown prize.

Last year's literature prize winner, Elfriede Jelinek of
Austria, also failed to come to any Nobel events as she suffers
from a social phobia. She made her Nobel lecture via video and
received the prize at the Swedish embassy in Vienna.

The Nobel award ceremony takes place on December 10 in the
afternoon. In the evening there is a glittering banquet in the
presence of the Swedish royal family.

Stephen Page, chief executive of publisher Faber and Faber
in London, will attend the award ceremony in Pinter's place.