Windham Campbell Prize Awards $1.35 Million To Writers

Mar 6, 2013

Yale University announced the winner of its inaugural Windham Campbell literature prizes. The award was established by a gift from the estate of writer Donald Windham and his partner Sandy M. Campbell. 

The nine recipients each received $150,000. The fiction winners were James Salter, Zoë Wicomb, and Tom McCarthy.

Naomi Wallace, Stephen Adly Guirgis, and Tarell Alvin McCraney were recognized for their work in drama.

The non-fiction prizes were awarded to Jonny Steinberg, Adina Hoffman, and Jeremy Scahill.

The size of the Windham Campbell Prize is larger than the Nobel Prize but the aim is to acknowledge those writers who may not be a household name. Michael Kelleher is the Prizes' Program Director and said that was the wish of Windham, who died in 2010. "He really wanted to call attention to signficant writers who perhaps don't have as wide an audience as they should."  

Windham was a celebrated writer who could have used a similar prize himself. "I think he also throughout his life felt under-recognized. He wrote five novels, several memoirs, co-authored a play with Tennessee Williams, and yet he never really achieved any of the name recognition."

Stage actor and book reviewer Sandy Campbell died in 1988 and Windham subsequently paired up with Yale's Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library to create the prize before his death in 2010.