NEW HAVEN, CONN.: Yale University’s Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library has announced the winners if its 2015 Donald Windham-Campbell Prizes, awarded to writers in a variety of disciplines. Among this year’s winners of the $150,000 award are playwrights Jackie Sibblies Drury, Helen Edmundson and debbie tucker green.
The Windham-Campbell Prizes were established in 2013 by novelist Donald Windham and Sandy M. Campbell to call attention to literary achievement and provide writers with the opportunity to focus on their work independent of financial concerns.
“The Windham-Campbell Prizes were created by a writer to support other writers,” said Michael Kelleher, director of the program, in a statement. “Donald Windham recognized that the most significant gift he could give to another writer was time to write. In addition to the prestige it confers, the prize gives them just that—with no strings attached.”
Winners hail from across the globe, this year including the United Kingdom, Nigeria and South Africa. Drury, a 2003 Yale graduate, is the only U.S. dramatist recognzied this year. Her work as a playwright was recognized for challenging presumptions about race, performance and personal responsibility, according to Peter Salovey , Yale’s president, who spoke at the award announcement conference.
Drury is best known for her show We Are Proud to Present a Presentation About the Herero of Namibia, Formerly Known as Southwest Africa, from the German Sudwestafrika, Between the Years 1884-1915, which had runs at Chicago’s Victory Gardens Theatre and Soho Rep. Her plays also include a Social Creatures, a commission by Trinity Repertory Theatre, and Really Really Really Really Really, which last year made the Kilroys list of promising, underproduced plays by women. She is also a member of the Civilians’ R&D group and the Lark’s Playground Group.
The other two dramatists, Helen Edmunson and debbie tucker green, have had extensive careers, as well. Green, a British playwright, won an Olivier Award for Most Promising Newcomer in 2004 for her show born bad. Her show generations also received a run at Soho Rep this past October.
Edmundson, also a British playwright, had her first show, Flying, produced at the National Theatre Studio in 1990. Her newest play, Queen Anne, will premiere in November.
Drury, green and Edmunson will gather at Yale in September with the other prize winners to receive their awards. The ceremony will be followed by an international literary festival celebrating their work.