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Poet James Fenton wins PEN Pinter writing prize for confronting power in verse

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LONDON — Poet James Fenton has won the PEN Pinter Prize, a writing award that celebrates champions of free speech.

Fenton is a former Oxford University professor of poetry and war correspondent. Many of his poems deal with conflict and its aftermath, including those in the collections "The Memory of War" and "Children in Exile."

Maureen Freely, president of writers' group English PEN, said Fenton "has spoken truth to power — forcefully, fearlessly and beautifully."

The award was established in 2009 in memory of Nobel Prize-winning playwright Harold Pinter. It goes jointly to a British writer seen as sharing Pinter's "unflinching, unswerving" social gaze and to an international writer who has faced persecution, chosen by the British winner and PEN.

Organizers said Tuesday the joint winner will be announced Oct. 6.

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