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Last Updated: Saturday, 19 July, 2003, 23:24 GMT 00:24 UK
Defining moments: Harold Pinter
A BBC series is asking influential figures around the world about the defining moments in their life.

Harold Pinter
Pinter's first play was initially a flop

Playwright Harold Pinter is the author of 29 plays, including The Homecoming and Betrayal. He was a vocal figure in the build-up to the war in Iraq, arguing that the US was preparing to commit "total mass murder".

My first full-length play, which was done in 1958, was a total disaster.

It was destroyed by the critics, it ran for six days in London, and at the Thursday matinee there were six people in the audience.

So that was not a very encouraging beginning.

That was called The Birthday Party - it has since been done all over the world many, many times and in London many, many times.

But the change in my life came with my next play about two years later which was called The Caretaker.

That was a big success, and in a sense I haven't looked back since - I just kept writing away really.

I really believe the US might blow the whole world up if we don't watch our step
Harold Pinter
So I've written quite a lot, and I enjoy it, and it's also very important to me.

Particularly in the political structure of the world at the moment, writing has become even more important.

Because I think it's very important for the writer to speak up about the total degradation of our world which I believe is inspired by the United States of America, which I think is a disastrous force - an extremely dangerous force.

I really believe they might blow the whole world up if we don't watch our step.

So it's very important for writers to speak up and assert themselves really.

Defining Moments will run until 23 July on BBC World Service's World Today programme. You can also read people's recollections on BBC News Online.

Defining the moment
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18 Sep 02  |  Entertainment

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