Subscribe to Newsletter
Monthly Newsletter: Join more than 5,000 African literature enthusiasts!
Subscribe for African literature news, and receive a free copy of our "Guide to African Novels."

Kwame Dawes. Photo from Daily Nebraskan.

Professor Kwame Dawes is among the eight recipients of the 2019 Windham-Campbell Prizes, which, at $165,000 for each winner, is one of the richest literary prizes in the world. The Ghanaian-Jamaican-American poet, most recently the author of City of Bones (2017), was honoured alongside fellow poet Ishion Hutchinson (Jamaica); the fiction writers Danielle McLaughlin (Ireland) and David Chariandy (Canada); the nonfiction writers Raghu Karnad (India) and Rebecca Solnit (United States); and the dramatists Young Jean Lee(United States) and Patricia Cornelius (Australia). Dawes—co-founder & editor-in-chief of African Poetry Book Fund (APBF), editor of Prairie Schooner, and Professor of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln—is now the eighth African writer to receive the prize, following wins by the South Africans Zoe Wicomb, in fiction, and Johnny Steinberg, in nonfiction, in 2013; the Sierra Leonean-Scottish Aminatta Forna, in fiction, in 2014; the Nigerians Teju Cole and Helon Habila and the South African Ivan Vladislavic, all in fiction, in 2015; and the Ugandan Jennifer Makumbi, in fiction, in 2018.

Established in 2013 “with a gift from the late Donald Windham in memory of his partner of 40 years, Sandy M. Campbell,” and administered by the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University, the $165,000 Windham-Campbell Prizes recognizes writers in the fields of fiction, poetry, drama and nonfiction “for their literary achievement or promise,” as a way “to support their writing.” The 2019 recipients were announced live in London at Stationers’ Hall, at an event hosted by the writer and playwright Damien Barr.

In an email to Brittle Paper last year, the Prize Director Michael Kelleher, whom we interviewed in 2017, stated that only writers working in the English language are eligible and “are nominated confidentially and judged anonymously. The call that Prize recipients receive from [the] program director is the first time that they have learned of their consideration.”

The prize citation underlines how “Kwame Dawes’s visceral, memorable, and urgent lyricism results in a poetry of compassion, moral seriousness, and depth that resonates across continents.”

“This award was a surprise to me, and a pleasant one especially because it honors poetry,” said Dawes, who won Poets & Writers’ Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award in 2011. “It is gratifying because in its short period of existence the Windham-Campbell Prize has shown itself to be an award that seeks to have international importance, and that celebrates what its judges deem literary excellence. I have little doubt about the impact that this award will have on my career as a writer.”

Here is his bio on his citation:

Kwame Dawes is a critic, editor, and poet born in Ghana and raised in Jamaica. The author of twenty books of poetry and numerous other works of fiction and nonfiction, Dawes is profoundly influenced by the aesthetic, intellectual, and political traditions of the Afro-Caribbean diaspora. His debut poetry collection Progeny of Air (1994) dramatizes issues of home and migration, innovation and tradition, freedom and entrapment. He has continued to investigate and deconstruct these binaries in later work, revisioning the Biblical story of Esau and Jacob in Jamaica (Jacko Jacobus [1996]), for instance, and imaginatively explores racism and segregation in mid-twentieth century South Carolina (Wisteria [2006]).

Dawes is a daring ventriloquist with a polymathic intelligence, and his expansive body of work shows lyric mastery, narrative force, and a profound sense of the historical and geographic roots of poetry. Among his many awards and honors are the Forward Prize for Poetry (1994), a Pushcart Prize (2001), the Musgrave Medal (2004), and a Guggenheim Fellowship (2012).

A founder of the African Poetry Book Fund, co-founder of the Calabash International Literary Festival, and a former Chancellor of the American Academy of Poets, he is currently the Glenna Luschei Editor-in-chief of Prairie Schooner and a Chancellor’s Professor of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

The awards will be given in September at an annual international literary festival at Yale meant to celebrate the honoured writers and introduce them to new audiences.

Find out more about the other winners on Yale News.

Brittle Paper congratulates Professor Kwame Dawes.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Otosirieze is deputy editor of Brittle Paper. He is a judge for the 2018/19 Gerald Kraak Prize and the 2019 Miles Morland Writing Scholarships. He is an editor at 14, Nigeria’s first queer art collective, which has published volumes including We Are Flowers (2017) and The Inward Gaze (2018). He is the curator of the Art Naija Series, a sequence of e-anthologies of writing and visual art focusing on different aspects of Nigerianness, including Enter Naija: The Book of Places (2016), which explores cities, and Work Naija: The Book of Vocations (2017), which explores professions. His fiction has appeared in The Threepenny Review and Transition. He has completed a collection of short stories, You Sing of a Longing, is working on a novel, and is represented by David Godwin Associates literary agency. He combined English and History at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, is completing a postgraduate degree in African Studies, and taught English at Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu. Find him at otosirieze.com, where he accepts writing and editing offers, or on Instagram or Twitter: @otosirieze. When bored, he Googles Rihanna.

One Response to “Professor Kwame Dawes Awarded $165,000 Windham-Campbell Prize, Alongside Seven Others” Subscribe

  1. morgansrealty.com July 3, 2019 at 1:04 am #

    It’s really a great and useful piece of info. I’m happy that you just shared this useful information with us.
    Please keep us up to date like this. Thank you for sharing.

Leave a Reply

Welcome to Brittle Paper, your go-to site for African writing and literary culture. We bring you all the latest news and juicy updates on publications, authors, events, prizes, and lifestyle. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram (@brittlepaper) and sign up for our "I love African Literature" newsletter.

Monthly Newsletter!

Subscribe for African literature news, and receive a free copy of our
"Guide to African Novels."

Archives

Shailja Patel Rejects $87,070 Court Ruling in Sexual Assault Defamation Suit by Tony Mochama, Leaves Kenya on Self-Exile

shailja patel

A week following the awarding of Sh9 million ($87,070) to Tony Mochama in his sexual assault defamation suit against Shailja […]

How to Join Narrative Landscape’s Illustrator Competition for Nigerian Women

Narrative Landscape Press

PRESS RELEASE Brief Narrative Landscape Press is pleased to announce this illustrator competition for Nigerian women illustrators. The winner of […]

Saraba Magazine Will Be Appointing a New Editorial Team | How to Apply

Saraba_22_Open

APPLY TO JOIN SARABA MAGAZINE EDITORIAL TEAM: PRESS RELEASE Saraba, the acclaimed literary magazine based in Nigeria, calls for applications […]

The Thing in the Blood | Vuyelwa Maluleke | Fiction

go the way your blood beats - graph

Vuyelwa Maluleke’s “The Thing in the Blood” is taken from Go the Way Your Blood Beats: New Short Fiction from […]

Agbowo Magazine’s Visually Stunning Second Issue Features Work by JK Anowe, Sarah Lubala, & Efua Traore

Agbowo - graph

The Nigeria-based Agbowo Magazine, which “collect[s] great literary and visual African art,” has released its second issue, themed “Limits”: a […]

Nigerian Journalist & Presenter Arit Okpo Is New Host of CNN’s African Voices

Arit Okpo - image by Guardian Nigeria

The Nigerian journalist, TV presenter, documentary filmmaker, producer and voice-over talent Arit Okpo is the new host of CNN’s “African Voices.” […]

Thanks for signing up!

Never miss out on new posts. Subscribe to a digest, too:

No thanks, I only want the monthly newsletter.