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Two Caribbean Writers Earn 2017 Windham-Campbell Prize

Erna Brodber and André Alexis are two of the 2017 Windham-Campbell Awardees

Two Caribbean writers, Jamaica’s Erna Brodber and Trinidad and Tobago’s André Alexis were among the eight recipients of the 2017 Windham-Campbell Prize which awards writers at two ends of the spectrum - those who have made significant literary achievement and those with promise. The awardees receive individual prizes of US$165,000 to support their writing.

Dr. Brodber and Mr. Alexis are the recipients of the fiction prize. The other 2017 awardees are: Maya Jasanoff (United States) and Ashleigh Young (New Zealand) for nonfiction; Ali Cobby Eckermann (Yankunytjatjara Aboriginal/Australia) and Carolyn Forché (United States) for poetry; and in drama, Marina Carr (Ireland) and Ike Holter (United States) for drama. This is the first year that prizes have been awarded in poetry.

Dr. Brodber referred to the prize as a “miracle”, one that independent writers and scholars like herself need in order to get on with the business of life while doing their writing. 

“You might saw the Lion of Judah has broken the great chain,” Dr. Brodber said turning to scripture to describe the timeliness of the award. “What I like about this award is that it’s there for independent people who don’t have a salary to be able to do their work.”

Dr. Brodber is the author of significant works of fiction and non-fiction. Her works include Myal, Jane and Louisa Will Soon Come Home, and Louisiana and Nothing’s Mat. She has been the  A winner of a Prince Claus Award (2006), the Musgrave Medal (1999), and the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize (1989), Brodber holds an Honorary D.Litt. from the University of West Indies at Mona (2011). 

André Alexis’s impressive repertoire includes six novels, Childhood, Asylum, Beauty and Sadness, Pastoral, Dogs and The Hidden Keys. Alexis earned both the Giller Prize and the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize in 2015. He has also been a recipient of the Trillium Prize (1997).

The Windham-Campbell Prizes are administered by Yale’s Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, which houses the Donald Windham and Sandy M. Campbell papers.