“I don't think writers are sacred, but words are. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones in the right order, you can nudge the world a little or make a poem which children will speak for you when you're dead.” – Tom Stoppard
Born on this date in 1937 in what is now the Czech Republic, Stoppard left as a child when the Nazi’s invaded and built his life in Great Britain where he has now been Knighted by Queen Elizabeth for his contributions to literature and the literary arts. Stoppard has written prolifically for the stage, TV, radio, and film on the themes of human rights, censorship and political freedom. A key playwright of the British National Theatre, he is one of the most internationally performed dramatists of his generation.
His works, almost all of which have won some type of award, include 3 dozen plays, 17 original pieces for radio and television, and 15 movies. He won a “Best Original Screenplay” Oscar for Shakespeare in Love, and Tony Awards for Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, The Real Thing, Travesties, and The Coast of Utopia.
In 2008 he was named among the all-time most important cultural figures in British history and this year he has been selected for The America Award, a lifetime achievement literary award given to international writers.
“When I began writing, I had a need to know more about the play before I got into it,” Stoppard said. “...... But my actual experience is that the best way to find out what the structure is, is by writing the play out laterally. You just have got to be brave enough to start without knowing where you are going.”
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