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Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize

The Kafka Prize Winner for Fiction Published in 2017

The recipient of the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize for Fiction published in 2017 is Marian Crotty, for her book What Counts as Love.

Meet the author!

On Thursday, March 28, 2019 Crotty will visit Rochester for a reading and award ceremony, followed by an hors d’oeuvres reception and book signing at the University of Rochester. The event begins at 6:00pm. Books will be available for purchase, provided by the Barnes and Noble Campus Bookstore. Free parking is available in Library Lot. For event details and updaes, please check our events page and our Facebook page.

Image of Marian Crotty's faceCover of What Counts as Love book

From the Kafka Prize Committee

The title of Marian Crotty's debut story collection, What Counts as Love, reveals its meaning slowly: it is not simply that her characters are looking for love and having to settle for something just short of it (though they do this, too); rather, in the process of searching they also experience types of longing,connection, selflessness, and faith that exceed our traditional definitions of the word. Often young women, Crotty's characters and narrators learn that love can flourish in the most unexpected of places, from the back-yard shed from which they're spying on the neighbors' sex lives, to the walk-in refrigerator of (the Polish-owned) Pablo's Restaurante. Full of heartache but also hope, What Counts as Love depicts its central figures' full range of emotions with both freshness and ferocity. 

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 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:

  • Evvy Fanning, Teacher of English, Pittsford Sutherland High School
  • Paloma Barhaugh-Bordas, Assistant Professor of Art, University of Rochester
  • Katherine Mannheimer, Associate Professor of English, University of Rochester