Tom Stoppard has won the 2017 David Cohen Prize for Literature, awarded for lifetime achievement.
The prize, now in its 25th year, can be given to dramatists, novelists, poets and essayists, and has previously been won by writers such as Harold Pinter, Hilary Mantel, Seamus Heaney and Doris Lessing.
Stoppard has been given the award in recognition of a career in which he has written more than 30 plays for the stage – including Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, The Real Thing and Arcadia – as well as for television, radio and film.
He was selected as the winner by a panel of judges that includes chichester Festival Theatres’ dramaturg and literary associate Kate Bassett and poet Gillian Clarke, and is chaired by journalist Mark Lawson.
Lawson said: “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.”
Stoppard was presented with the award at a ceremony at BAFTA in London on November 8.
He receives £40,000, funded by the John S Cohen Foundation. The prize is administered by development agency New Writing North, which took over that role from Arts Council England and BookTrust earlier this year.