Windham Campbell prizewinners to be celebrated at Yale and in New York

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Windham_Campbell_Black-360x360.jpgThe 2014 winners of the Windham Campbell Prizes will gather from around the world at Yale Monday-Wednesday, Sept. 15-18 for a prize ceremony and four days of events highlighting their work. In addition, there will be a program in New York City featuring one of the prizewinners in conversation with a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist.

The 2014 winners, originally announced in March, are: in fiction — Nadeem Aslam (Pakistan/United Kingdom), Jim Crace (United Kingdom), and Aminatta Forna (United Kingdom/Sierra Leone); in drama — Kia Corthron (United States), Sam Holcroft (United Kingdom), and Noëlle Janaczewska (Australia); and in non-fiction — Pankaj Mishra (India), and John Vaillant (United States/Canada). Each will receive a $150,000 award.

The prize ceremony will take place on Monday, Sept. 15 in Sprague Hall, Morse Recital Hall, 470 College St. Critically-acclaimed novelist Zadie Smith give a talk titled “Why Write?” and the eight winners will receive their awards from Peter Salovey, president of Yale.

“What sets the Windham Campbell Prizes apart is not simply the size of the purse,” said Michael Kelleher, director of the program. “It’s the sense of community that develops among prizewinners, readers, and festival goers as they gather to celebrate these extraordinary writers from around the world.”

“The idea of giving this amount of money to a writer anywhere in the world who writes in English is simply visionary,” said James Salter, who received one of last year’s inaugural Windham Campbell Prizes.

Other highlights of the festival include:

  • “Public Master Classes in Drama,” presented by the Yale School of Drama, and featuring staged readings and talk-backs with playwrights Holcroft, Corthron, and Janaczewska.
  • “The Art of the Novel,” featuring novelist and Yale faculty member John Crowley leading a discussion on the craft of novel writing with Forna, Aslam, and Crace.
  • “Literary Speed Dating,” organized by Yale undergraduates, which offers audience members the opportunity to engage each of the prizewinners in short conversations on a range of topics.
  • “Prizewinners Reading,” the closing event on campus at which all eight prizewinners give brief readings from their work. A book signing will follow.

On Friday, Sept. 19 at 7 p.m., Forna will appear in conversation with novelist, critic, and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Lorraine Adams at Hotel Particulier, located at 4-6 Grand St. between Varick and 6th Avenue in SoHo. The evening is presented by Guernica, an award-winning online magazine of ideas, art, poetry, and fiction, and the Caine Prize for African Writing. The event is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be provided.

The Windham Campbell Prizes are administered by Yale’s Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, which houses the Donald Windham and Sandy M. Campbell Papers. The prizes were established by Windham and Campbell to call attention to literary achievement and provide writers with the opportunity to focus on their work independent of financial concerns. There is no submission process, and winners are determined by a global group of invited nominators, a jury, and a selection committee. The 2015 winners will be announced on Tuesday, Feb. 24.

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