British novelist Jim Crace has just been awarded the prestigious Windham Campbell Award for lifetime achievement in fiction. Patricia Waugh, who wrote the formal case for Crace’s award, explains why he was a worthy winner.
Her article on the Centre for Medical Humanities blog identifies why Crace is such a significant and valuable contemporary novelist. Focusing especially on his 1999 work Being Dead, Waugh argues that the novel offers
a testimony to the power of fiction – and of the wounded storyteller – in an age of scientific materialism, commerce and global unrest – to confer grace on the world of nature as perceived by the humans that inhabit and are honed out of it. It is Crace’s affirmation of the importance of fiction as consolation and shock, but most of all as vehicle for the discovery of truths as vital to our human and creaturely continuation as any unearthed by the instruments of scientific materialism.
The full piece can be read here. Patricia Waugh also recently contributed to a podcast for READ, in which she and Jennifer Hodgson explain why novelists like Crace show that reports of a decline in British fiction have been greatly exaggerated.