The British Library

Harold Pinter Archive

In Decenber 2007 the British Library aquired the archive of Harold Pinter. Pinter had previously placed the archive 'on permanent loan' in 1993. The archive cosisted of more than 150 boxes of manuscripts, scrapbooks and emails.


Highlights of the archive include an exceedingly perceptive and enormously affectionate run of letters from Samuel Beckett, letters and hand-written manuscripts revealing Pinter's close collaboration with director Joseph Losey; a charming and highly amusing exchange of letters with Philip Larkin; and a draft of Pinter's unpublished autobiographical memoir of his youth, 'The Queen of all the Fairies'.

Harold Pinter

This extensive collection of correspondence encompasses the personal, professional and political aspects of the legendary writer, whose career covered directing, acting, screenwriting, poetry and journalism, as well as his original work for the theatre. His key role in post-War theatre and film is documented through his extensive correspondence with leading playwrights and literary figures such as Simon Gray, David Hare , David Mamet, Arthur Miller, John Osborne, and Tom Stoppard, as well as actors and directors including Sir John Gielguid and Sir Peter Hall. In addition to high profile correspondents, the archive documents all international performances of Pinter's plays, as well as exchanges with academics that highlight Pinter's engagement with the global scholarly community.


There is also extensive material relating to Pinter's commitment to human rights, covering his journalism, poetry and direct action. Especially touching are letters from Pinter's early friends in Hackney, including his inspirational English teacher, Joe Brearley.


Together with material relating to the award of the Nobel Prize, cuttings books, and photographs, these papers amount to one of the most significant post-War literary archives of one of the greatest Anglophone playwrights of the twentieth-century.


The Harold Pinter Archive catalogue became available online on Tuesday 3 February 2009 (Add. 88880)

Read more about the Pinter achive in cataloguer Helen O'Brian's blog.

A podcast of Harold pinter in converstion with Harry Burton in September 2008 is available. Recorded at The Golden Generation Conference at the British Library, it is one of the last public appearances by Harold prior to his death on 24th December 2008.

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