Light & Verity

Major new literature prize established at Yale

Beinecke Library

Beinecke Library

Donald Windham, ca. 1942. View full image

Author Donald Windham, who died last year at the age of 89, left a bequest to Yale to establish a literary prize that will award $150,000 each to several English-language writers annually. The first Donald Windham–Sandy M. Campbell Prizes at Yale, named for Windham and his partner of 45 years, will be awarded in late 2012 or early 2013 to writers of fiction, nonfiction, and drama. (Poetry may be added in the future.)

Seven to nine awards will be made each year. The prize money—which Windham intended to allow the winners to spend a full year writing—is larger than England’s Man Booker Prize (about $80,000) or Yale’s own Bollingen Prize for poetry ($100,000).

Windham, a native of Atlanta, wrote well-received novels, short stories, and plays, but he is best known for his memoirs about his mid-century literary life in New York, where he befriended Tennessee Williams, Truman Capote, and other important figures. In 1989, Windham—who had no previous affiliation with Yale—began giving his papers and correspondence to the Beinecke Library.     

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