Jamaica Kincaid. Photo: Kenneth Noland
Save the date: on April 12, 2022, The Paris Review will present the Hadada, our annual lifetime achievement award, to Jamaica Kincaid at our Spring Revel.
In our Winter 1981 issue (no. 82), the Review published a short story by Kincaid, then thirty-two, titled “What I Have Been Doing Lately.” The story follows the narrator’s recursive, dreamlike journey in search of home, and was later included in Kincaid’s debut collection, At the Bottom of the River (1983), which drew from her early life in Antigua and marked her as a singular voice in American letters. The book won the Morton Dauwen Zabel Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and was nominated for the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction. Also in the collection is the indelible “Girl,” a 650-word sentence of practical instructions uttered by a mother to her daughter on how to avoid becoming “the kind of woman who the baker won’t let near the bread.”
Kincaid has gone on to publish five novels and five books of nonfiction, as well as many other stories and essays. In 2018, she appeared in the inaugural season of The Paris Review Podcast, reading “What I Have Been Doing Lately.” In 2020, the Daily published two of her essays, “I See the World” and “Inside the American Snow Dome” (which originally appeared in the Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter).
In the words of the Review’s publisher, Mona Simpson, “Jamaica’s sentences roam over hills and valleys, from local poverties and the bitter legacy of colonialism to the beauty of a single flower. I can’t think of another writer whose voice contains such intensities of rage and love. It is a sound incantatory, biblical, and full of music.”
Kincaid is now a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Lannan Literary Award for Fiction, the Prix Femina Étranger, the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, the Clifton Fadiman Medal, and the Dan David Prize for Literature. She is a professor of African and African American studies at Harvard, and will be a visiting writer at UCLA in the spring of 2022.
We are delighted to add the Hadada to Kincaid’s array of accolades, in recognition of the impact that her remarkable body of work continues to have on readers and writers. Previous recipients of the Hadada include Joy Williams, Deborah Eisenberg, James Salter, Joan Didion, and the 2021 winner, N. Scott Momaday (a full list can be found here).
After canceling the Spring Revel in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we look forward to coming together again. We’ll mingle, present the Hadada and the Plimpton Prize—our award for emerging writers—and raise a glass in gratitude to the literature that has kept us company over the past two years. To join us, buy your ticket today.
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