Windham-Campbell Prize 2022 winners announced

The winners of the Windham-Campbell Prize 2022 have been announced today, March 29, 2022. Here are the six writers of African descent who made the list.

The Windham-Campbell Prize was established in 2013 with a gift from the late Donald Windham in memory of his partner of 40 years, Sandy M. Campbell.  English language writers from anywhere in the world are nominated confidentially and judged anonymously for the prize worth US$165,000 for each of them. It is administered by the Beinecke Rare Book and the Manuscript Library at Yale University.

African winners have been Aminatta Forna (2014), Teju Cole, Helon Habila, and Ivan Vladislavić (2015), Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi (2018), Kwame Dawes (2019), and Namwali Serpell (2020). 2021 was a bumper year for writers of African descent with Nathan Alan Davis, Michael R. Jackson, Dionne Brand, Renee Gladman, and Canisia Lubrin getting the big bucks.

The recipients of the awards for 2022 have been revealed with Mike Kelleher, Director of the Windham-Campbell Prizes, saying:

“Across ten extraordinary years, the Windham-Campbell Prizes have celebrated exceptional literary achievement and nurtured great talent by giving the precious gifts of time, space and creative freedom. We are proud to mark our 10th anniversary with the most exciting list of recipients yet. Led by a trailblazing group of global women’s voices, these writers’ ambitious, skilful, and moving work bridges the distance between the history of nations and a deeply personal sense of self.”

The writers of African descent were a majority this year with 6 of the 8 making the list. These are;

  • Tsitsi Dangarembga (Zimbabwe) – fiction
  • Siphiwe Gloria Ndlovu (Zimbabwe) – fiction
  • Margo Jefferson (United States) – nonfiction
  • Emmanuel Iduma (Nigeria) – nonfiction
  • Winsome Pinnock (United Kingdom) – drama
  • Sharon Bridgforth (United States) – drama

Here are reactions from the winners;

Tsitsi Dangarembga:

Tsitsi Dangarembga.
Tsitsi Dangarembga

“I have been waiting for this all my life, not always believing but constantly hoping. This award gives me space to dream.”

Siphiwe Gloria Ndlovu:

Siphiwe Gloria Ndlovu. Photo/Tafadzwa Ufumeli
Siphiwe Gloria Ndlovu. Photo/Tafadzwa Ufumeli

‘You have changed my life! One day, I will have words to speak of this, but for now all I have are thanks.’

Margo Jefferson

Margo Jefferson.  Photo/Micah Tautkus
Margo Jefferson. Photo/Micah Tautkus

‘Thrilled, in this case, is an understatement! I couldn’t be happier. Blissful is the word.’

Emmanuel Iduma

Emmanuel Iduma. Photo/Geraint Hill
Emmanuel Iduma. Photo/Geraint Hill

‘It was a stunner, and still is, to be informed of the award of a prize of such magnitude and pre-eminence, to be listed alongside many writers I look up to. I am filled with gratitude to the Beinecke Library and remain keen with hope for the paths now made possible for me to tread.’

Winsome Pinnock

Winsome Pinnock. Photo/Geraint Hill.
Winsome Pinnock. Photo/Geraint Hill.

‘This is going to have a huge impact on my process as it will give me the freedom to experiment and to work on projects in a non-pressured way.  I still can’t quite believe it.’

Sharon Bridgforth

Sharon Bridgforth. Photo/David Maziarz
Sharon Bridgforth. Photo/David Maziarz

‘I am receiving this award with wide open arms, humbling crumbling with gratitude – calling the names of those on whose shoulders I stand, those that have loved and guided me, those known and unknown who are my champions. I am on my knees reciting today’s prayer… Thank you. Yes. Love. WTF!! With Joy’