Crace, Aslam, Forna win $150k Windham Campbell prizes

Crace, Aslam, Forna win $150k Windham Campbell prizes

Man Booker shortlisted Jim Crace is one of eight recipients of this year’s $150,000 Windham Campbell Literature Prizes.

The eight winners, from seven countries, receive the generous awards in recognition of their achievements and to support their work.

Also winning are novelists Nadeem Aslam, author of The Blind Man's Garden and Maps for Lost Lovers (both Faber), and Aminatta Forna, whose latest novel The Hired Man is published by Bloomsbury. Pankaj Mishra, author of From the Ruins of Empire (Penguin), was a winner in the non-fiction category, as was Canadian John Vaillant, whose The Tiger: A True Story of Vengeance and Survival is published by Sceptre.

British playwright Sam Holcroft, published by Nick Hern Books, also won an award, in the drama category, alongside Kia Corthron from the US (Methuen/NoPassport Press) and Australian Noëlle Janaczewska (Currency Press).

Crace, who was shortlisted for the 2013 Man Booker Prize for Harvest (Picador), said the timing of the award, which he won in the fiction category, "couldn't be more perfect", as it had coincided with a resurgence in his urge to write.

He said: “After a couple of years of creative doubt when I thought I might not write another novel but should turn instead to the theatre, I have rediscovered my passion for fiction. Stories are crowding in, demanding their space on the page. The Windham Campbell Prize at Yale gives me the independence and the confidence to take on those stories, free from everyday pressures.”

Crace’s citation said: “Jim Crace's ever-varied novels return us to the body, to ceremony and to community in a disenchanted world, transforming the indifferent and the repugnant alike into things of beauty.”

Meanwhile Forna, whose citation praised her "subtly constructed narratives that reveal the ongoing aftershocks of living through violence and war”, commented: “The Windham Campbell Prize offers a writer what we most crave: time to write, free from deadlines, financial pressures, the expectations of others. It is a wonderful idea, a gesture of remarkable generosity, and in the current climate when the pursuit of fiction faces so many challenges, very welcome indeed.”

Literary agent David Godwin represents both Crace and Forna. He said: “It is a privilege to play my role as agent for both Jim and Aminatta, and it’s wonderful that two very different authors have been awarded such an extremely generous prize.”

A ceremony conferring the Donald Windham-Sandy M. Campbell Literature Prizes at Yale University will take place at Yale on September 15th, and will be followed by a three-day literary festival celebrating the work of the prize recipients with a series of events in New Haven.