Tom Stoppard Biography
Birthday: July 3, 1937 (Cancer)
Born In: Zlín, Czechoslovakia
Tom Stoppard is a Czech-born British playwright and screenwriter. This prolific writer of Jewish origin had to escape from the Nazi forces invading his home town and subsequently from the Japanese forces occupying Singapore. His major success came with the play, ‘Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead’. He wrote many more plays and translated a number of plays of Mrozek, Nestroy, Schnitzler and Havel. The influence of Polish and Czech absurdists in his works is apparent. In addition, he is a successful screenwriter. He co-wrote the screenplays for films like ‘Brazil’ and ‘Shakespeare in Love’ which won several prestigious awards. His works gave rise to the term ‘Stoppardian’, to describe works using wit and humor while addressing philosophical concepts. However, his initial works were criticized for lacking social commitment and substance, a criticism he did not refute for he did not mean any of them to be touched by usefulness. His visit to the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe changed this aspect and he began to be involved in human rights issues. He has been involved with the ‘Amnesty International’ and has been outspoken on issues such as censorship and state repression. For his contribution to literature and society, he has been conferred many honors and awards.