Tom Stoppard has won the David Cohen Prize for Literature 2017. The prize recognises writers who have made an important contribution to literature over the course of their careers.
In 1966 Stoppard became the youngest person ever to have a play performed at the National Theatre – he was just 29 – with his work Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. Following that early success he went on to write a number of critically acclaimed works, including Travesties (1974), Every Good Boy Deserves Favour (1977), The Real Thing (1982), Arcadia (1993) and The Coast of Utopia (2002).
Chair of the judging panel Mark Lawson commented: “Stoppard’s work is built on foundations of electrifying dialogue, vivid stage-pictures, literary and historical perception, and roles that allow actors unusual verbal and emotional scope.
“Two decades after Harold Pinter was an early winner of the David Cohen Prize, the award marks its Silver Jubilee by honouring a second giant of 20th century British drama.”
Past winners of the biennial award include Dorris Lessing (2001), Seamus Heaney (2009) and Hilary Mantel (2013). The prize comes with a GBP40,000 (€45,000) cash sum.
Away from the theatre, Stoppard was co-author of the screenplays for Brazil and Shakespeare in Love (which won an Academy Award). In 2013 he received the Laurel Award for Screenwriting Achievement, while earlier this year he was honoured with the America Award in Literature.