Celebrating Pride and Spotlighting Donald Windham


Celebrating Pride and Spotlighting Donald Windham

June 26, 2018

Dear Reader:

The heart of our story is a love story that you may have heard–maybe at Damian Barr's Literary Salon in London, where we celebrated it a few years ago–that started one day in the studio of Paul Cadmus, where Donald Windham met Sandy Campbell, a model for the artist's paintings. (Listen to Prize Director Michael Kelleher tell the story here.)

Donald and Sandy would spend the rest of their lives devoted to each other, and when Donald died, he chose to make their legacy the Windham-Campbell Prizes, with the express intention of giving writers what they themselves had always felt was needed most: financial support and time to write.

Donald knew this intimately because he himself was a writer. His novel Two People, while it did not reach the heights he hoped for in his life, is rightly regarded as an under-sung classic. With that in mind, we worked with Electric Literature to introduce it to a new generation of writers, and it was published this week with a tender and astute introduction by Brandon Taylor, who noted, “[Two People] is a story that will echo of other, more recent novels such as What Belongs to You and Necessary Errors. It’s a pivotal link in the lineage of queer novels. It’s a beautiful story of a man finding his way. It’s a reminder of the ways we hide from ourselves. It’s gorgeous.” You can read it all here.

We're also excited about 2018 Windham-Campbell Prize recipient Olivia Laing's new novel, Crudo, her debut in fiction, out this month. Says The Guardian in their review, “Laing is a mesmerizing critic and memoirist, a travel writer in that she connects the inner to the outer world. She is simply one of our most exciting writers, who has explored through her work loneliness, alcoholism and art in The Lonely City and The Trip to Echo Spring. Every tangent is a tributary for Laing that leads somewhere unexpected. She wanders both as insider and outsider, queer, curious, unsettled, erudite, wondering what it is to be an artist.”

Happy reading–and Happy Pride!

Your friends at the Windham-Campbell Prizes