The Chowdhury Prize in Literature is an annual international mid-career prize for writers, presented at the University of Southern California through the auspices of the Subir and Malini Chowdhury Foundation and in collaboration with Kenyon College and The Kenyon Review. The prize seeks to identify authors who are at an inflection point, with a body of work already behind them, but also with significant future potential. It is this future work that the prize means to encourage; it is not a retrospective award but rather one that is forward looking, intended both to encourage and actively assist writers on the creative cusp to push ahead into new territories.
There is no application process for the Chowdhury Prize in Literature. Potential candidates are identified, and deliberated on, by members of the prize jury, who then choose a single recipient. The prize comes with a $20,000 cash award to facilitate the creation of future work and is presented at a gala ceremony on the campus of USC. The first recipient will be honored in the spring of 2022. This is the only prize of its kind to be awarded on the west coast. As such, it represents a necessary widening of the American literary lens. If literature is, among other things, a diaspora, then the Chowdhury Prize in Literature seeks to celebrate that by considering writers of all genres, all nationalities, all aesthetics and approaches, all sensibilities.