Yale University today announced the eight recipients of its 2017 Windham-Campbell Prize, which recognizes artists from around the world for their work in poetry, fiction and drama. The list of this year’s awardees includes Victory Gardens’ playwrights ensemble member Ike Holter, who receives one of two prizes awarded for drama.
Each honoree receives an unrestricted grant of $165,000 to support their writing careers. Since the award’s inception, 43 writers been so honored, including Oscar-winning screenwriter/playwright (and Steppenwolf ensemble member) Tarell Alvin McCraney (“Moonlight”). McRaney was appointed the chairman of Yale’s drama department in 2016; his three-year term is effective July 1.
Holter’s breakthrough “Hit the Wall” was presented in 2012 at the Steppenwolf Theatre Garage. His other works include 2014’s “Exit Strategy,” staged at the Broadway Armory by Jackalope Theatre; “Sender,” which was staged at A Red Orchid Theatre in 2016; and “The Wolf at the End of the Block,” currently being staged by Teatro Vista at Victory Garden’s Biograph Theatre through March 5.
In addition to Holter, the 2017 recipients include: in fiction, André Alexis (Canada/Trinidad and Tobago) and Erna Brodber (Jamaica); in nonfiction, Maya Jasanoff (United States) and Ashleigh Young (New Zealand); in poetry, Ali Cobby Eckermann (Yankunytjatjara Aboriginal/Australia) and Carolyn Forché (United States); and in drama, Marina Carr (Ireland).
The awards, administered by the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Yale, are considered among the world’s richest and most prestigious literary prizes. This year’s winners will be honored in September at Yale’s international literary festival Sept. 13-15.
The prize was established in 2011 in honor of novelist Donald Windham, perhaps best known for being a Tennessee Williams collaborator and close friend of Truman Capote, and Windham’s longtime partner Sandy Montgomery Campbell. Campbell passed away in 1988, and, according to windhamcampbell.org, leaving his estate to Windham with the understanding that it someday be used to endow a prize in support of writers. Windham died in 2010.