The Windham-Campbell Prizes 2021: A Nine-Week Series of Salon Events

In News by Porter Anderson

Using a digitally distributed format, the US$1.3 million Windham-Campbell Prizes program announces a series featuring its recipients.

Recipients of the 2021 Windham-Campbell Prizes are, upper row from left, Nathan Alan Davis; Michael R. Jackson; Dionne Brand; and Renee Gladman. On the lower row from left are Kate Briggs; Vivian Gornick; Canisia Lubrin; and Natalie Scenters-Zapico

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

Kelleher: ‘Extraordinary Creativity’
As Publishing Perspectives readers will recall, the Windham-Campbell Prizes program is based at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale.

In March, the program named eight recipients for its 2021 slate of grant recipients.

  • Vivian Gornick (United States): nonfiction
  • Kate Briggs (United Kingdom/Netherlands): nonfiction
  • Dionne Brand (Canada/Trinidad and Tobago): fiction
  • Renee Gladman (United States): fiction
  • Canisia Lubrin (Saint Lucia/Canada): poetry
  • Natalie Scenters-Zapico (United States): poetry
  • Nathan Alan Davis (United States): drama
  • Michael R. Jackson (United States): drama

Each grant is worth US$165,000 and is unrestricted, allowing its recipient to use it as needed. As is the case with the MacArthur Fellowship program, there’s no application process for this potentially life-pivoting honor. Nor is the extensive nomination format visible to nominees. Several stages of invitational work by some 60 nominators and a cohort of jurors results in a slate of eight Wyndham-Campbell laureates, two in each of four categories: nonfiction, fiction, poetry, and drama.

Today (August 5), Windham-Campbell director Mike Kelleher has announced a program of nine episodes for Wednesdays from September 15 to November 10 at noon ET each Wednesday, 1700 BST and 1600 GMT.

Mike Kelleher

In a comment from Kelleher today, he speaks of “a blend of video and audience interaction that that will give an innovative, digital platform to the extraordinary creativity of this year’s prize recipients.

This is not just about literature with a capital L.

“These writers are creative in myriad different ways, singing, drawing, translating, and much more. In bringing this variety of creative expression to each episode, we hope to offer many different ways for a curious audience to engage with the prizes.”

Programming in the Windham-Campbell Salon Series
  • Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Michael R. Jackson us to perform some of his songs and talk about his creative process (September 15)
  • Memoirist Vivian Gornick will give the audience a look at her Greenwich Village apartment and talk about what re-reading means to her (September 22)
  • Renee Gladman will collaborate with DJ Val Jeanty on a performance of music and words (September 29)
  • Poet Natalie Scenters-Zapico will talk about her pandemic postcard poetry project with her husband, José Ángel Maldonado (October 6)
  • Canisia Lubrin will cook and talk about food and poetry with a fellow Canadian-Caribbean writer, Rinaldo Walcott (October 13)
  • Nathan Alan Davis is to be joined by fellow theater artists to talk about their creative industry (October 20)
  • Translator Kate Briggs is joined by 2018 Windham-Campbell Prize recipient John Keene, Sawako Nakayasu, and Johannes Göransson (October 27)
  • Former poet laureate of Toronto Dionne Brand will take the audience on a tour of public installations of her words in the city (November 3)
  • A finale will feature the United States’ poet laureate, Joy Harjo, who is expected to give the program’s 2021 keynote lecture (November 10)

Yale University Press is to issue a new, fourth entry in its “Why I Write” series, with Samuel R. Delaney, Of Solids and Surds. There’s also a plan to feature newly commissioned work by 2021 Windham-Campbell grant recipients in an edition of The Yale Review.

The program of nine events is produced by the nonprofit 5:00 Films & Media and will be presented by Matchbox Virtual Media.

More from Publishing Perspectives on publishing and literature awards is here. More from us on the Windham-Campbell Prizes is here

More on the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on international book publishing is here

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (Fellow, National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.