David Chariandy wins the $220,000 Windham Campbell Prize


By Stephen Weir

David Chariandy

David Chariandy’s novel, Brother, is now one of the the most successful Canadian fiction titles in terms of prize purses.

The Trinidadian  Canadian writer is one of the eight winners of the 2019 Windham Campbell Prize of $165,000 US ($220,000). He was awarded the prize for his 2017 book about two young Trinidadian brothers growing up in a tough part of Toronto.

The winners were announced at a live event in London last Wednesday.

“I was floored by the news! And for some time, I didn’t dare believe my fortune,” said Chariandy  on Wednesday night. “The Windham-Campbell Prize offers a life-changing opportunity to devote time and energy to writing. I am humbled and profoundly grateful to be counted among the recipients.”

Chariandy who grew up in Scarborough, now lives in Vancouver where he teaches at Simon Fraser University. His debut novel, Soucouyant, was nominated for several prizes and won the Gold Independent Publisher Award for Best Novel.

Brother, his second novel,  won the $50,000 Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize and the $10,000 Toronto Book Prize.  It is currently in the running for the CBC Canada Reads programme. In total, the book has won Chariandy over $280,000.

The Donald Windham Sandy M. Campbell Literature Prizes is an American literary award. Prizes are offered  in four categories: fiction, nonfiction, poetry and drama. The award was established at Yale University in 2011 with the first prizes presented in 2013. Administered by the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, the award recognizes English language writers from anywhere in the world.

Chariandy was the only Canadian winner this year.

The other winners were:

FICTION: Danielle McLaughlin (Ireland)

NONFICTION: Raghu Karnad (India) and Rebecca Solnit (United States)

POETRY: Ishion Hutchinson (Jamaica) and Kwame Dawes (Ghana)

DRAMA: Young Jean Lee (United States) and Patricia Cornelius (Australia)

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