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Last Updated: Friday, 13 April 2007, 15:12 GMT 16:12 UK
Pinter receives honorary degree
Melvyn Bragg (top) and Harold Pinter
Lord Bragg described Harold Pinter as "a great writer"
Playwright Harold Pinter has been praised for his contribution to English literature as he received an honorary degree at Leeds University.

Mr Pinter, 76, who became a Doctor of Letters, was hailed as Britain's greatest living playwright at the ceremony on Friday.

His award coincided with a festival marking the 50th anniversary of the first performance of his work.

The ceremony was conducted by University Chancellor Melvyn Bragg.

The event is being accompanied by a three-day conference discussing Mr Pinter's work.

Iraq war

The playwright, who already has up to 15 degrees from universities across the world, gave a speech at the ceremony.

Lord Bragg said: "It is a great occasion. Harold is a great writer, known all over the world.

"Leeds University has put together these workshops and it's terrific that I can give him an honorary degree."

Performances of some of his plays will also be put on at the University during the festival, including The Room, which will star life-long friend Henry Woolf who commissioned him to write the orignal script in 1957.

A University spokesman said Hackney-born Mr Pinter had always followed Yorkshire cricket and was taken to see a match in Leeds during World War II.

Harold Pinter was diagnosed with cancer of the oesophagus in 2002, but has continued to write poetry and speak out on political issues, notably against the Iraq war.

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