Li and Kapil among winners of Windham-Campbell Prizes

Li and Kapil among winners of Windham-Campbell Prizes

Yiyun Li and Bhanu Kapil are among the writers to receive a $165,000 Windham-Campbell Prize this year.

Now in their eighth year and one of the most valuable writing awards in the world, the prizes announced by a live stream on 19th March celebrate writers at every stage of their careers.

For fiction, Li, the prolific Chinese-born author of The Vagrants (Fourth Estate), and Zambian author Namwali Serpell, whose explores themes of identity and belonging, are both recognised.

In poetry, British-Indian poet Kapil, known for exploring questions of trauma, healing and immigration, gets the nod alongside Jonah Mixon-Webster whose work tackles the public health crisis in his hometown of Flint, Michigan.

For drama, the prize selected The Aubergine writers Julia Cho and Aleshea Harris, whose works confront misogyny and racism.

In non-fiction there was an award for Australian writer Maria Tumarkin, whose works explore the lives of ordinary people with painful pasts, and Anne Boyer, author of The Undying (Allen Lane), an exploration of cancer.

Mike Kelleher, director of the Windham-Campbell Prizes, said: “This is such an exciting group of prize recipients—so many utterly original voices from so many different places. Their work digs deeply into everything from the poisoned water crisis in present-day Flint, Michigan, to the vicissitudes of the surveillance state in an Afro-futurist Zambia. To read the work of these eight writers—seven of them women—is simply overwhelming.”

Nominees for the prizes are considered by judges who remain anonymous before and after the prize announcement.

In September 2020, Yale University and the Beinecke Library will host a week-long festival of events to honour the winners.