40th Annual Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize Ceremony and Reading

Tuesday, October 27, 2015
5 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.

Hawkins-Carlson Room

Award ceremony and reading

Join us for our 40th annual Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize ceremony and reading, where we will welcome Jacinda Townsend and present her with the Kafka prize for her novel, Saint Monkey. Copies of Saint Monkey will be available for purchase at the event.

"Jacinda Townsend’s first novel, Saint Monkey, which has already won the James Fenimore Cooper prize for historical fiction, is the 2015 choice for the Janet Heidinger Kafka Award for the best work of American prose written by a woman. This masterful novel portrays the complexities of the Jim Crow era in Kentucky through the eyes of two protagonists: Audrey and Caroline. The former is able to transcend her rural upbringing through both musical ability and sheer luck, while the latter remains stuck in their childhood home of Montgomery county. One of the remarkable qualities of the novel is Townsend’s ability to give each female character her own unique voice, while focusing on the intensity and complexity of their mutual friendship. Moreover, the novel presents a rich panorama of the ways in which culture manages to become a form of currency which lifts certain individuals out of their surroundings, while unintentionally keeping other individuals languishing in seemingly dead-end lives. Though the novel is an exemplary form of historical fiction, the history it depicts resonates with many of the issues America faces at the beginning of the twenty-first century."

-Jason Peck, Kafka Prize Committee