The man widely regarded as Britain's greatest living playwright has won this year's Nobel Prize for literature.
The announcement was made by the Nobel permanent secretary Horace Engdahl in Stockholm.
"The Nobel prize in literature for 2005 is awarded to the English writer, Harold Pinter, who, in his plays, uncovers the precipice under everyday prattle, and forces entry into oppression's closed rooms," he said.
The playwright, who has written more than 30 works, is best known for his sparse style, dubbed "Pinteresque," which takes full advantage of the pauses and silences that build the dramatic effect.
Mr. Engdahl says Harold Pinter reacted similarly when the call came through from the Nobel committee informing him of the award.
"He did not say many words," he said. "In fact, he was so surprised by this decision, but he was very happy."
Harold Pinter is best known for his plays, The Birthday Party and The Caretaker.
He is widely acknowledged to have influenced an entire generation of British writers.
Mr. Pinter has also never shied away from fierce political debate.
The human rights campaigner and anti-war activist has in recent years been an outspoken critic of the war in Iraq.