The Windham-Campbell Prize recipients 2023

Yesterday the the Windham-Campbell Prizes announced this year’s recipients of a $175,000 award to support their work.

The prize recognises eight writers each year for literary achievement across four categories – fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and drama. With annual prize money exceeding $1.4m USD – and total prize money awarded over the past decade at almost $16m USD – they are one of the most significant prizes in the world. Each recipient is given an unrestricted grant to support their writing and allow them to focus on their work independent of financial concerns rewarding each with $175,000, marking a $10,000 increase from previous years.

The Windham-Campbell Prizes 2023 recipients are:

–                  Percival Everett (United States) – fiction

–                  Ling Ma (United States) – fiction

–                  Susan Williams (United Kingdom) – nonfiction

–                  Darran Anderson (Ireland/United Kingdom) – nonfiction

–                  Dominique Morisseau (United States) – drama

–                  Jasmine Lee-Jones (United Kingdom) – drama

–                  Alexis Pauline Gumbs (United States) – poetry

–                  dg nanouk okpik (Iñupiaq-Inuit) – poetry

Michael Kelleher, Director of the Windham-Campbell Prizes, said: “Reading this year’s recipients excited me because each one taught me new ways of seeing the past, the present, and the future. I can’t wait to see what each of them does next!”

For Fiction

The Windham-Campbell Prize 2023 selection committee – which remains anonymous – said the following about winning recipients Percival Everett and Ling Ma:

 “In its mordant humor and philosophical skepticism, Percival Everett’s virtuosic body of work exemplifies fiction’s capacity for play, vigilance, and compassion for life’s precarity in an uncertain world.”

“Ling Ma meditates on urban anomie with wry humor and subversive imagination, brilliantly bending and blending genre to plumb the depths of her characters’ origins, displacement, and alienation.”

In Nonfiction,

The Windham-Campbell Prize 2023 selection committee had this to say about recipients Susan Williams and Darran Anderson:

“Susan Williams chronicles imperial legacies with a forensic eye, a historical mind, and a decolonial sensibility for African agency; her findings are as stunning as they are transformative.”

“With divinatory attention, Darran Anderson gives voice to the testimony of objects and geographies, chronicling the passage of individual memory as it turns into a community’s archive and sustaining myth.”

For Drama,

The Windham-Campbell Prize 2023 selection committee said:

“The nuanced characters and trenchant stories in Dominique Morisseau’s plays strike at the heart of the most pressing conversations facing African Americans today, embodying a steadfast belief in the transformative power of love and art.”

“Fierce, fresh, and funny, Jasmine Lee-Jones’s iconoclastic plays reinvigorate the vernacular of contemporary theater for a new generation.”

In Poetry,

The Windham-Campbell Prize 2023 selection committee had this to say about Alexis Pauline Gumbs and dg nanouk okpik:

“The luminous, visionary poetry of Alexis Pauline Gumbs emerges from urgent realities of the present and haunting voices of the past to imagine alternative worlds shaped by radical listening, compassion, and love.”

“dg nanouk okpik’s lapidary poems sound the depths of language and landscape, shuttling between the ancient past and imperilled present of Inuit Alaska in a searching meditation on ecology and time.”

Previous recipients include Winsome Pinnock (Drama, 2022), Zaffar Kunial (Poetry, 2022) Kate Briggs (Nonfiction, 2021) Bhanu Kapil (Poetry, 2020),  Tsitsi Dangarembga (Fiction, Zimbabwe, 2022), Vivian Gornick (Nonfiction, United States, 2021),  and Raghu Karnad (Nonfiction, India, 2019).

The Prizes were created by Donald Windham and Sandy M. Campbell. The couple were deeply involved in literary circles, collected books avidly, read voraciously as well as penning various works. For years they had discussed the idea of creating an award to highlight literary achievement and provide writers with the opportunity to focus on their work independent of financial concerns. When Campbell passed away unexpectedly in 1988, Windham took on the responsibility for making this shared dream a reality. The first prizes were announced in 2013.

The Prizes are administered by Yale University’s Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, and nominees for the Prizes are considered by judges who remain anonymous before and after the prize announcement. Recipients write in the English language and may live in any part of the world.

You can find out more about the Windham-Campbell Prize here.

(Note – information taken from Press Release).

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Such a generous prize. It must make a huge difference to the winner.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. janetemson says:

      It must be a lifeline to some!

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.