Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize

Since 1976, the Susan B. Anthony Institute for Gender, Sexuality, 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.

This prize was created in honor and memory of Janet Heidinger Kafka, a young editor who was killed in a car accident just as her career was beginning. Those who knew her believed she would do much to further the causes of literature and women. Her family, friends, and professional associates 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 US citizen, and who has written the best book-length work of prose fiction, whether novel, short stories, or experimental writing. We are interested in calling attention to the work of a promising but less established writer.

How to Enter

  1. All entries must be submitted by publishers who wish to have the work of their authors that were published in the year 2021 considered. No self-published works or works from vanity presses will be accepted. 

  2. Entries must be submitted/postmarked by January 15, 2022, and the works must have been assembled for the first time. For collections of short stories: at least one-third of the material must have been previously unpublished before the release of the collection to be submitted.

  3. We ask that entries are submitted as a non-watermarked digital file. If your submission is chosen as a finalist, we may contact you to request that your publisher send hard copies of the book to our jurors for close review.

  4. The $15,000 prize will be 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. Works written primarily for children and publications from private and vanity presses will not be considered for this prize. We are particularly interested in calling attention to the work of a promising but less established writer.

  5. Only under the most unusual circumstances will a writer be considered for a subsequent award within a ten-year span.

  6. Please fill out the application form here.

Committee

This year's committee members are:

  • Eileen Daly-Boas, University of Rochester Library
  • David Hansen, English
  • Beth Jörgensen, Modern Languages and Cultures
  • Kate Phillips, Writing, Speaking, and Argument
  • Stephen Schottenfeld, English

Winners