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Last Updated: Saturday, 10 December 2005, 18:44 GMT
Absent Pinter awarded Nobel prize
Harold Pinter
Pinter pre-recorded a presentation for the occasion
Harold Pinter was hailed as "uniquely strong and inspiring" as he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature on Saturday.

The British playwright, 75, was unable to attend the ceremony in Sweden on Saturday due to poor health.

But a lecture pre-recorded by Pinter was shown on a big screen at the Stockholm academy.

In it he attacked George W Bush and Tony Blair for creating "a vast tapestry of lies" about the Iraq war.

Pinter was unable to attend the event because he was recovering from cancer of the oesophagus.

Creative power

A spokesman from the Stockholm academy described his works as "seductively accessible and frighteningly mysterious".

"In its choice of a Nobel Laureate, the Swedish Academy recognises only the creative power of a single individual regardless of nation, sex and literary genre.

"However British you may appear in the eyes of many, your international and inter-human impact in the field of drama has been uniquely strong and inspiring for half a century," he said.

"In your works - seductively accessible and frighteningly mysterious - the curtain rises on dense light landscapes and harrowing confinement.

"In poetic images you illuminate an existence by fantasy and the nightmare of reality clash."

Pinter had already announced publisher Stephen Page would accept the prize on his behalf on 10 December.

"His doctors have forbidden him to travel at this time," the Nobel Foundation said.

Outspoken critic

Nobel prize organisers had hoped Pinter would be able to a deliver the traditional lecture at the Swedish Academy building. Despite his absence, there was still a rapturous applause from the audience for the playwright.

Pinter, whose plays include The Birthday Party and Betrayal, was announced as the winner of the $1.3m (723,000) cash prize in October.

The Nobel academy said his work "uncovers the precipice under everyday prattle and forces entry into oppression's closed rooms".

But the playwright has also made his mark as an outspoken critic of US foreign policy and the war in Iraq.

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