Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Noëlle's Windham Campbell Prize

I (Noëlle) got some amazing, wonderful news last week. Totally out of the blue. One minute I’m sitting at my computer working away on a radio script, the next there’s a phone call from America … and then I’m dancing around the apartment and wondering how on earth I’m going to be able to keep this to myself for the next 4 days. I did, BTW.

The news: I‘ve been awarded one of the 2014 Windham Campbell Literary Prizes from Yale. You have to be nominated for them, and I'd absolutely no idea I had been. Then there’s a whole post-nomination process of judging, and you only ever discover you were in the running if you win. No applications, no long or shortlists.

The Prize is given in drama, nonfiction and fiction, to writers in the English-speaking world, for a body of work, or potential. And it’s a generous award, not only in monetary terms (US$150,000Yes—Wow!), but in spirit. You can tell it was initiated by 2 writers, Donald Windham and Sandy M Campbell, because it comes with no restrictions or even any reporting requirements. It’s simply given to provide you with the opportunity to focus on your work free of financial concerns. My only obligation is to go to Yale in September to receive the prize in person and take part in a literary festival with my 7 fellow winners. And how great is it to be in such illustrious company. I’m really looking forward to meeting the other writers in September, and getting to know the work of those whose writing I’m not so familiar with.

Not sure yet what I’ll write. I always have several ideas and projects in various stages of development. Perhaps someone will ask me to write a libretto—wouldn’t that be brilliant? Meanwhile, I’ve got 6 months to consider the possibilities.

More info about the prize and the 2014 winners here.  

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