Kwame Dawes, alongside seven other writers, was announced as a recipient of the Windham-Campbell Prize 2019 on March 13, 2019.
The Windham-Campbell Prize, established in 2013 with a gift from the late Donald Windham in memory of his partner of 40 years, Sandy M. Campbell. At US$165,000, it is one of the richest and most prestigious literary prizes today with English language writers from anywhere in the world nominated confidentially and judged anonymously. The prize is administered by the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University.
Alongside Kwame Dawes the other seven recipients announced at a ceremony in London, UK on Wednesday evening, are Rebecca Solnit, David Chariandy, Raghu Karnad, Young Jean Lee, Danielle McLaughlin, Ishion Hutchinson, and Patricia Cornelius.
Kwame Dawes a critic, editor, and poet who was born in Ghana and raised in Jamaica isn’t new to the African literary scene. He has produced twenty books of poetry and numerous other works of ﬁction and nonﬁction. Among his many awards and honours are the Forward Prize for Poetry (1994), a Pushcart Prize (2001), the Musgrave Medal (2004), and a Guggenheim Fellowship (2012). He is the 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.
Speaking about the win, Kwame Dawes said, “This award was a surprise to me, and a pleasant one especially because it honours poetry. 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.”