Kafka Prize Ceremony and Reading
Thursday, October 27, 2016
5 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.
Prize Ceremony and Reading
The University of Rochester is delighted to announce that Mia Alvar, author of the short story collection In the Country (2015), is the winner of this year's Janet Heininger Kafka Prize for fiction by an American woman writer. Join us for a reading from her novel, a q&a session, and a book signing on October 27th, 2016.
"Alvar was born in the Philippines and raised in Bahrain, before moving to the United States to study and earn her B.A. at Harvard University and an MFA at the Columbia University School of the Arts. In the Country, a collection of nine stories that interconnect through their exploration of the Filipino diaspora, is her debut work of fiction. The stories create morally and culturally complex characters who are engaged in negotiating the challenges of migration away from home for economic reasons and confronting the equally fraught experience of returning home. A pharmacist residing in New York City smuggles medication to his terminally ill father in Manila and discovers unexpected truths about his family. A private tutor to a multiply disabled child in Bahrain learns that defending the illusions treasured by the little girl's wealthy mother is just as necessary and humane an act as teaching her daughter simple skills. "Deception is my duty" the teacher realizes. Alvar provides insights into the rarely written lives of first-generation Filipinos living in the Middle East and the United States, and her beautiful, lucid prose, rich in irony, subtlety and compassion, draws her readers into their environment and their inner lives. This is the first time that the Janet Heininger Kafka Prize has been awarded to a short story collection. In the Country stood out as the selection committee's unanimous choice among almost 150 entries for its ability to craft a cohesive, intricately wrought world out of nine separate narratives." Beth Jorgensen, Professor of Spanish, Member of the 2016 Kafka Prize Committee