Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize

The Kafka Prize Winner for Fiction Published in 2013

The 2013 Recipient of the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize for Fiction by an American Woman is Ru Freeman for her novel, On Sal Mal Lane.

Meet the author!

On Thursday, October 23, 2014 Freeman will visit Rochester for a reading and award ceremony, followed by an hors d’oeuvres reception and book signing in the Welles-Brown Room of the Rush Rhees Library at the University of Rochester. The event begins at 5:00pm. Books will be available for purchase, provided by the Barnes and Noble Campus Bookstore.

Anna Keesey

"Ru Freeman was born into a family of writers and many boys in Colombo, Sri Lanka. After a year of informal study at Murdoch University in Perth, Western Australia, she arrived in the United States with a Parker ink pen and a box of Staedler pencils to attend Bates College in Maine. She completed her Masters in Labor Relations at the University of Colombo, and worked in the field of American and international humanitarian assistance and workers’ rights. Her political writing has appeared in English and in translation. Her creative work has appeared or is forthcoming in VQR, Guernica, World Literature Today and elsewhere. She is a contributing editorial board member of the Asian American Literary Review, and a fellow of the Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference, Yaddo. and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. She is the author of the novel A Disobedient Girl (Atria/Simon & Schuster, 2009), which was long-listed for the DCS Prize for South Asian Literature, and translated into several languages. Her new novel, On Sal Mal Lane, is published by Graywolf Press in 2013. She calls both Sri Lanka and America home and writes about the people and countries underneath her skin." via Ru Freeman's webpage

About the Award

Since 1976, the Susan B. Anthony Institute for Gender and Women's Studies and the Department of English at the University of Rochester have awarded the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize for fiction by an American woman. The idea for the prize came out of the personal grief of the friends and family of a fine young editor who was killed in an automobile accident just as her career was beginning to achieve its promise of excellence. She was 30 years old, and those who knew her believed she would do much to further the causes of literature and women. Her family, her friends, and her professional associates in the publishing industry created the endowment from which the prize is bestowed, in memory of Janet Heidinger Kafka and the literary standards and personal ideals for which she stood.

Each year a substantial cash prize is awarded annually to a woman who is a USA citizen, and who has written the best book-length work of prose fiction, whether novel, short stories, or experimental writing. We are particularly interested in calling attention to the work of a promising but less established writer.

About the Committee

This year's Committee members were:

  • Kathy McGowan, Education and Women's Studies Librarian, Rush Rhees Library
  • Terry Platt, Professor of Biochemistry and Biology, University of Rochester
  • Kathryn Mannheimer, Associate Professor of English, University of Rochester

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