The Windham-Campbell Prizes will this year hold the annual autumn festival at Yale University, celebrating the work of the winners, as a hybrid virtual and print “festival”.
Administered by Yale University’s Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, the annual English-language awards are split across fiction, non-fiction, poetry and drama with winners getting the sum of $165,000 (£125,000) each to support their writing.
To mark what we would have been the opening address at Yale University, science fiction writer Samuel R Delany with give a virtual keynote lecture on 16th September 2020.
Later in the year the prizes will partner with the Yale Review to present a celebratory free “festival’ issue of the journal showcasing specially commissioned new work from 2020 prize recipients Bhanu Kapil, Jonah Mixon-Webster, Julia Cho, Aleshea Harris, Yiyun Li, Namwali Serpell, Maria Tumarkin and Anne Boyer.
Michael Kelleher, director of the Windham-Campbell Prizes, said: “One of the things the pandemic has taught me is how much being present matters. Online events can be engaging, but they can never replace that feeling of being close to others, of being present. And yet, when I read a printed book, I do have that feeling. I hold a book in my hand. I touch it. I feel it. And when I read I am present among the feelings and ideas and stories a writer has to tell. And so we thought that instead of trying to replicate all of what we do 'in real life' online, we would offer our audience a chance to be present with these writers in their preferred medium of expression, the printed word.”