Windham-Campbell Prize 2023 recipients receive their awards.

Windham-Campbell Prize 2023 recipients receive their awards.

The Windham-Campbell Prize 2023 recipients received their awards at the Windham Campbell Prize Festival 2023 at Yale University, USA on Wednesday, September 20, 2023.

The Windham-Campbell Prize was established with a gift from the late Donald Windham in memory of his partner of 40 years, Sandy M. Campbell in 2013.  Recipients of the award, administered by the Beinecke Rare Book and the Manuscript Library at Yale University, write in the English language and may live in any part of the world.

African winners have been Aminatta Forna (2014), Teju Cole, Helon Habila, and Ivan Vladislavić (2015), Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi (2018), Kwame Dawes (2019), and Namwali Serpell (2020). 2021 was a bumper year for writers of African descent with Nathan Alan Davis, Michael R. Jackson, Dionne Brand, Renee Gladman, and Canisia Lubrin winning. For 2022, writers of African descent were Tsitsi Dangarembga, Siphiwe Gloria Ndlovu, Margo Jefferson, Emmanuel Iduma, Winsome Pinnock, and Sharon Bridgforth.

The winners of the 2023 edition were announced with recipients each receiving a $175,000 cash award, a $10,000 increase from previous years, to support their work on March 4. The following writers of African descent made the cut;

  • Percival Everett (United States) – fiction      
  • Dominique Morisseau (United States) – drama        
  • Jasmine Lee-Jones (United Kingdom) – drama         
  • Alexis Pauline Gumbs (United States) – poetry

The judges said of Percival Everett’s work, “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.”

On Dominique Morisseau they 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.”

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

On Alexis Pauline Gumbs they said, “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.”

The writers received their awards at the Windham-Campbell Prize Ceremony and Lecture presented by Yale University President Peter Salovey on Wednesday. Music critic Greil Marcus delivered the annual Windham-Campbell Lecture “Why I Write” before the writers got their awards. Watch the ceremony on YouTube in full below;


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