Windham-Campbell Prize Talk | Close Looking: Turner Turned Inside Out

Free admission

Winsome Pinnock’s most recent play, Rockets and Blue Lights, takes the audience on a deep dive into J. M. W. Turner’s painting The Slave Ship, asking questions about received and shared history. Pinnock is joined by former Windham-Campbell Prize recipient Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, Professor in the Practice of Theater and Performance Studies at Yale, for a discussion about how theater can help us look more fully into history.

Complementary Study Room Display

To coincide with this program, the YCBA will host a display of works by Turner. Twenty rarely displayed works, including sketchbook drawings and color studies, finished watercolors, and prints will be on view in the Study Room on September 22 from 1 to 4 pm and from 5 to 6 pm. 

About Winsome Pinnock

Winner of the 2022 Windham-Campbell Literary Prize in Playwrighting, Pinnock is a British playwright of Jamaican heritage who is a singular voice in world theater. Over the past four decades, plays like Tituba (2016), Mules(1996), and The Winds of Change(1987) have established her as poet and mythmaker, committed to taking formal risks and asking difficult questions about the role of art in shaping cultures and institutions. Rockets and Blue Lights (2018) places at its center one of the nineteenth-century’s most famous paintings: J. M. W. Turner’s The Slave Ship. Moving between several sets of characters and ranging from the 1800s to the present, this intricately plotted drama compels us to confront the horrors of our shared past. It does so with compassion and wit, never once compromising Pinnock’s vision of theater as the communal creation of new, stranger, and perhaps truer histories.

The first Black British woman to have a play produced by the National Theatre, Pinnock was an associate professor of drama at Kingston University from 2005 to 2019 and has also been a senior visiting fellow at Cambridge University. She has worked as a dramaturg with the National Theatre’s New Views program as well as with the Royal Court Theatre’s International Department. The prizes awarded to her work include the Alfred Fagon Award (2018), the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize Special Commendation (1990), the George Devine Award (1991), the Pearson Award for Best New Play (1991), and the Unity Theatre Trust Award (1989). She lives in London.

Windham-Campbell Literature Prize programs

Established in 2013 with a gift from the late novelist Donald Windham in memory of his partner of forty years, Sandy M. Campbell, the Windham-Campbell Literature Prizes at Yale University recognize writers worldwide and give prominence to their literary achievements. The prizes provide opportunities to focus on work independent of financial concerns.

Click here to learn more about Winsome Pinnock and the other Windham-Campbell 2022 Prize recipients, and to see the full Festival schedule.

Top image
Photo of Winsome Pinnock by Geraint Hill

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J. M. W. Turner, "The Channel Sketchbook" (detail), ca. 1845, Graphite and watercolor on medium, slightly textured, white wove paper, Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection
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