University of Rochester

EVENT: Author's Short Story Collection Wins Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize

October 3, 2000

An upstate New York native has been named the recipient of the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize for Fiction by an American Woman for her second book of short stories.

Susan Hubbard will be at the University of Rochester on Sunday, October 29, to read from her work and accept the prize, which is awarded annually by the Susan B. Anthony Institute for Gender and Women's Studies and the Department of English. Her reading starts at 5 p.m. in the Welles-Brown Room in Rush Rhees Library on River Campus.

A book signing will follow her reading, and copies of the book will be available for purchase.

Hubbard will be honored for Blue Money, an imaginative and haunting collection in which chance encounters and decisions have long-term effects. A student changes her work for a class reading, destroying her marriage but embarking on a new life. A bored housewife regretfully declines an offer to sell her house and start a new romance. Two girls plot to kill one of their stepfathers, and the unexpected results alter their friendship. A stalked young woman, having an affair with a married man, seeks safety with a college mentor and loses her last refuge. Several of the stories are set in locales like Auburn and Buffalo.

"In her book of short stories, Susan Hubbard drops us into a number of different worlds," said Janet Catherine Berlo, the Susan B. Anthony Professor of Gender and Women's Studies, and chair of the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize award committee. "Strangers come and go. High school students discuss Jean-Paul Sartre. Men and women intersect at oblique angles. Hubbard charmed the awards committee with the economy of her language, her fresh and varied characters, and her wit."

Hubbard, who got her bachelor's and master's degrees at Syracuse University, is an associate professor of English at the University of Central Florida, Orlando. Her first book, Walking on Ice, won the Associated Writing Programs' Prize for Short Fiction. Her stories have appeared in such publications as TriQuarterly, The North American Review, and Ploughshares, which praised her as "an assured storyteller and a complex narrative stylist."

Hubbard has also lived and worked in England, Northern Ireland, and Scotland. She has received teaching awards from the University of Central Florida, Cornell University, South Atlantic Administrators of Departments of English, and Syracuse University, and has given fiction readings and workshops at more than 50 colleges and arts programs across America.

The Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize is awarded yearly for an outstanding book-length work of prose fiction by an American woman. It was established in 1976 in memory of Janet Kafka, a young editor killed in an automobile accident that ended a career many believed would have furthered the causes of women and literature. Previous winners have included Toni Morrison for Song of Solomon and Gail Godwin for A Southern Family.