Windham Campbell Prizes Literature Festival Kicks Off on Monday, Sept. 15

September 2, 2014

Four-Day Festival Celebrates the 2014 Winners of the Windham Cambell Prizes

The 2014 winners of the Windham Campbell Prizes will gather from around the world at Yale Monday-Thursday, Sept. 15-18 for a prize ceremony and a four-day festival highlighting their work.

The 2014 prizewinners, 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 will give a keynote titled “Why Write? Creativity and Refusal” and the eight winners will receive their awards from Yale President Peter Salovey.

“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, a prizewinner in last year’s inaugural round of awards.

Other highlights of the festival include:

  • Public Master Classes in Drama: Presented by the Yale School of Drama, these classes will feature staged readings and talkbacks with playwrights Holcroft, Corthron, and Janaczewska. (Iseman Theater, Sept. 16, 17, 18, 4 p.m.)
  • The Art of the Novel: Novelist and Yale faculty member John Crowley will lead a discussion on the craft of novel writing with Forna, Aslam, and Crace. (Sterling Memorial Library, Sept. 17, 12 p.m.)
  • Literary Speed Dating: Organized by Yale undergrads, this unique event offers audience members the opportunity to sample the prizewinners in short, exciting conversations on a range of topics. (Beinecke Library, Sept. 16, 6 p.m.)
  • Prizewinners Reading: In the closing event, the eight prizewinners will give readings from their work. Book signing to follow. (Whitney Humanities Center, Sept. 18, 7 p.m.)

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 Donald Windham and Sandy 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.

For a complete schedule of events, visit