The British Library has acquired the archive of Nobel Prize-winning writer and playwright Harold Pinter.

A collection of more than 150 boxes containing letters, manuscripts, scrapbooks, emails and photographs belonging to Pinter has been purchased by the Library for £1.1 million.

The archive had been on loan to the Library since 1993 but has now been acquired permanently using a grant of £216,000 from the National Heritage Memorial Fund (NHMF), donations from private trusts and benefactors and existing British Library funds.

The 77-year-old - married to historian Lady Antonia Fraser - has written 29 plays and directed 27 theatre productions.

A prolific screenplay writer - his most recent effort Sleuth recently opened on UK screens - Pinter is also a recipient of the Shakespeare Prize, the European Prize for Literature, the David Cohen British Literature Prize, the Laurence Olivier Award and the Moliere D'Honneur for lifetime achievement.

Jamie Andrews, head of modern literary manuscripts, commented: "It is thrilling for the British Library to have acquired the archive of our greatest living playwright.

"This is a wonderful collection that sheds new light on each stage of Harold Pinter's unparalleled career over the past 50 years.

"We look forward to making the material accessible to researchers and to playing our part in celebrating his life and work."

The archive contains a series of letters between Pinter and Samuel Beckett as well as correspondence with Philip Larkin.

12/12/2007 10:19:24