The Ugandan author Jennifer Makumbi has been awarded the highly prestigious Windham Campbell Prize for 2018 with a cheque for $165,000, which will be conferred in September at an international literary festival at Yale. The Windham-Campbell Prizes, established in 2013 with a gift from the late Donald Windham in memory of his partner of 40 years, Sandy M. Campbell, are among the richest and and most prestigious literary prizes on earth, and are awarded each year to eight writers in fiction, drama poetry and non-fiction. Writers from around the world are nominated confidentially and judged anonymously.

 

"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" said Kelleher. "Six years on, we can now to see the impact the prizes have on these writers' lives, careers, and their work. The feeling is magical.”

 

The judges commented: "Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi 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."

 

Oneworld’s publisher Juliet Mabey added, “We are so incredibly proud to be publishing Jennifer’s dazzling debut novel, Kintu, which came out in January. Kintu could not be a better example of what we look for in our fiction, combining a rich, multi-layered narrative with strong characterisation to trace the birth of modern Uganda. It’s a stunning novel." 

 

Makumbi, winner of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize, was born in Kampala, Uganda, and studied for her MA in Creative Writing at Manchester Metropolitan University and for her PhD in Creative Writing at the University of Lancaster. Makumbi has taught English and Creative Writing at various universities in the UK as an Associate Lecturer. She lives in Manchester with her husband and son, where she is working on her next novel. Her short story collection will be published in 2019.

 

Jennifer Makumbi © Mark Rusher