Makumbi Wins $165,000 Windham-Campbell Prize
The director of the Windham-Campbell Prizes recently made the call of a lifetime to eight writers, informing them that they will each be recognized with a $165,000 prize to support their writing. Awards will be conferred September 12-14, 2018, at an international literary festival at Yale, where the Prizes are based.
Established in 2013 with a gift from the late Donald Windham in memory of his partner of 40 years, Sandy M. Campbell, the prizes are among the richest and most prestigious literary prizes on earth.
English language writers from anywhere in the world are eligible. This year's recipients are: in drama, Lucas Hnath (US) and Suzan-Lori Parks (US); in nonﬁction, Sarah Bakewell (UK) and Olivia Laing (UK); in ﬁction, John Keene (US) and Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi (Uganda/UK); and in poetry, Lorna Goodison (Jamaica) and Cathy Park Hong (US).
"This prize for me is like having been working without pay for a long time and then someone comes a long and says, 'Will a salary for the past ten years do?' Then you're left speechless," Makumbi said.
Kintu tells the parallel stories of the fall of a cursed bloodline—the titular Kintu clan—and the rise of modern Uganda. With an extraordinarily ambitious and agile narrative voice that blends traditional oral storytelling with folk tales, mythology, and biblical elements, Makumbi delivers an incisive critique of contemporary Ugandan class, politics, and religion. Critic Aaron Bady has said that Kintu is a novel about how “all families are built out of silences and ﬁctions.” Kintu traces the lineages of these lacunae, in the process charting new possibilities for the future of the African novel.