Ugan­dan nov­el­ist Jen­nifer Makumbi clinches N60m Wind­ham Camp­bell Prize

Sunday Trust - - ARTS & IDEAS - By Abubakar Adam Ibrahim

Ugan­dan nov­el­ist Jen­nifer Makumbi has been awarded a $165,000 Wind­ham-Camp­bell Prize for fic­tion. The au­thor of the novel Kintu was an­nounced as one of eight writ­ers who have been awarded the prize this year.

Makumbi, who lives in Manch­ester, is be­ing hon­oured with the prize alongside po­ets Lorna Good­i­son (Ja­maica), Cathy Park Hong (US); drama­tists Lu­cas Hnath (US) and Suzan-Lori Parks (US); non­fic­tion writ­ers Sarah Bakewell (UK) and Olivia Laing (UK); and fel­low fic­tion writer John Keene (US).

Makumbi joins a grow­ing num­ber of Africans to have re­ceived the prize hav­ing been suc­ceeded by South Africans Zoe Wi­comb, in fic­tion, and Johnny Stein­berg, in non­fic­tion, in 2013; Sierra Leonean-Scot­tish Ami­natta Forna, in fic­tion, in 2014; and Nige­ri­ans Teju Cole and Helon Ha­bila and South African Ivan Vladislavic, all in fic­tion, in 2015.

The awards, which go to English-lan­guage writ­ers from any­where in the world, were set up in 2013 by the late Don­ald Wind­ham, in mem­ory of his part­ner of 40 years, Sandy M Camp­bell.

“Six years on, we can now see the im­pact the prizes have on these writ­ers’ lives, ca­reers and work. The feel­ing is mag­i­cal,” said prize direc­tor Michael Kelle­her.

Writ­ers are nom­i­nated con­fi­den­tially and judged anony­mously and the call from the direc­tor in­form­ing them of the win is of­ten the first they hear of the prize. A num­ber of au­thors have of­ten dis­missed the prize no­ti­fi­ca­tion as a hoax only to re­alise it is not.

“The day I make the call to no­tify award win­ners is the high­light of the year, as each cy­cle I hear how much of a dif­fer­ence it will make for them. Six years on, we can now see the im­pact the prizes have on these writ­ers’ lives, ca­reers, and their work. The feel­ing is mag­i­cal,” Kelle­her said.

Makumbi, ac­cord­ing to the prize ad­min­is­tra­tors was awarded the prize for how her novel Kintu, “opens up a bold and in­no­va­tory vista in African let­ters, en­com­pass­ing an­cient wounds that dis­quiet the present, and of­fer­ing the resti­tu­tion to be found in mem­ory and rit­ual.”

This is not Makumbi’s first prize as her novel Kintu won the Kwani Man­u­script Pro­ject in 2013 and a year later won the Com­mon­wealth Writ­ing Prize for her short story, ‘Let’s Tell This Story Prop­erly.’

The 2018 Wind­hamCamp­bell Awards will be con­ferred Septem­ber 12-14 at an in­ter­na­tional lit­er­ary fes­ti­val at Yale.

Cathy Park Hong John Keene Suzan Lori Park Olivia Laing The 2018 win­ners of the Wind­ham Camp­bell Prize Jen­nifer Makumbi Lorna Good­i­son Sarah Bakewell Lu­cas Hnath

Jen­nifer Makumbi

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