Yale University announced the winners of its annual Windham Campbell Prizes. The eight writers were revealed by Yale President Peter Salovey during a press conference at Yale's Beinecke Library. Each winner will receive $150,000 to help them focus on writing.
Among the winners were playwright and television writer Kia Corthron, who has been struggling financially. "I have been so broke that I needed Medicaid in order for necessary surgery last summer," she told the committee.
The purpose of the Windham Campbell Prize is to help writers like Corthron, who deserve recognition, but may not be a household name. The prize is named after writer Donald Windham and his partner Sandy M. Campbell.
Windham was an accomplished writer who died in 2010 and wanted this award to recognize unappreciated writers. "I think he also throughout his life felt under-recognized," program director Michael Kelleher told WNPR in 2013.
All award winners are English writers, but they represented countries throughout the world including India, Pakistan, and Sierra Leone.
Winners are chosen by a committee of approximately 50 people throughout the year-long process. The final selection committee must reach a consensus on each winner. Only eight winners were chosen, down one from the year before because the judges couldn't agree on the ninth.
"This year," Kelleher said during the press conference, "it was really about not being able to come to consensus and deciding it was better to not select somebody if they couldn't come to a consensus on those people."
The winners will convene in September to receive their prizes and take part in a literary festival at Yale.
2014 WINDHAM CAMPBELL PRIZEWINNERS
- Kia Corthron
- Sam Holcroft
- Noëlle Janaczewska
- John Vaillant
- Pankaj Mishra
- Aminatta Forna
- Jim Crace
- Nadeem Aslam