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Issue 471, 22 October 2001

Plays, politics and the 'pinter-net'


English lecturer Dr Mark Batty has played a leading role in a new website dedicated to the life and work of Harold Pinter – Dr Batty, author of Writers and their work: Harold Pinter, was the only academic on the seven-strong team which produced the site – with help from the great man himself, of course.

From books to web - Dr Mark Batty

The site was commissioned after Pinter's former PA put his name into a search engine, and discovered thousands of web pages dedicated to the actor, poet and playwright, mostly with little — or false — information. The need for an official web presence was clear.

Dr Batty helped to write the content for the site, particularly the sections devoted to Harold Pinter's acting and directing careers. His acting spans from his first forays on the stage at the age of seventeen through extensive film and TV roles. As Pinter himself is quoted: "I saw very few plays before I was twenty. Then I acted in too many."

The site also contains a biography of the playwright, and sections on his poetry, publications and politics, as well as a list of events for Pinter enthusiasts. Dr Batty recalls: "As the project developed, the website took on a life of its own, ballooning in size before our eyes. Harold was extremely patient with our regular invasions of his office to gather material from his personal archive. The one thing which is missing is any mention of Harold's love of cricket, but we’re currently working on a new page to set that right."

The website is non-profit-making, and aims to be both a source of reliable information on Pinter's work for scholars, students and enthusiasts of his writings and activities and a platform upon which to portray Pinter's artistic and political concerns.

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