A generous new writers’ award has made its debut. Today, the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Yale University announced the inaugural winners of the Windham Campbell Prizes, a global award for writers endowed by a gift from the late novelist Donald Windham and his partner, Sandy M. Campbell. Windham, who died in 2010, left his papers to the Beinecke.
Nine writers, ages 33 to 87, none of whom knew they were nominated, won $150,000 prizes for outstanding achievement in fiction, nonfiction, and drama. The only condition? Participate in a multi-day literary festival at Yale in September where the awards will be given.
Academics among the winners were:
Adina Hoffman, who has taught at Wesleyan, Middlebury, and New York Universities, and been a fellow at Yale’s Whitney Humanities Center. Her books include My Happiness Bears No Relation to Happiness: A Poet’s Life in the Palestinian Century (Yale University Press, 2009), a biography of Taha Muhammad Ali.
Jonny Steinberg, a lecturer in African Studies at the University of Oxford. Author of several books about South Africa, Steinberg’s most recent work is Little Liberia: An African Odyssey in New York (Jonathan Cape, 2011).
Zoë Wicomb, a professor emerita at Strathclyde University in Scotland. The South African-born writer is best known for such fiction as the short-story collection You Can’t Get Lost in Capetown (Feminist Press at CUNY), but has written in postcolonial theory and related realms.
Visit Windham Campbell Prizes for a complete list of the awards.