"A Common Person and Other Stories," a collection of short stories by R. M. Kinder, has been selected by the University of Notre Dame's Creative Writing Program as the thirteenth winner of the Richard Sullivan Prize for short fiction. The prize-winning volume will be published by the University of Notre Dame Press in Spring 2021. Judge Valerie Sayers, the William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of English, calls the collection a "knock-out" that "honors ordinary lives as it gracefully accretes striking images and motifs for tension and impact."
R. M. Kinder is the author of two prize-winning collections of short fiction: "A Near-Perfect Gift," winner of the University of Michigan Press Literary Fiction Award, and "Sweet Angel Band," winner of Helicon Nine Editions Willa Cather Award. A writer, editor, educator, and musician, she has also published two novels, "An Absolute Gentleman," (Counterpoint Press, 2007) and "The Universe Playing Strings" (University of New Mexico Press, 2016). Madison Smartt Bell has called her stories "extraordinary" and Larry McMurtry has praised them for being "delicately felt and gracefully written."
The Sullivan Prize honors a distinguished member of Notre Dame's English faculty, the late novelist and short story writer Richard Sullivan. Sullivan graduated from Notre Dame in 1930 and joined the University's faculty as a writing instructor in 1936. He published several short story collections and novels, including "The World of Idella May," "The Three Kings," "Summer After Summer," "The Dark Continent," and "First Citizen." A popular undergraduate teacher, he is remembered for his description of writing as "hard work requiring patience and idiotic perseverance." He died in 1981.
The Sullivan Prize was founded by Professor of English Emeritus William O'Rourke, who co-edited the prize series with Sayers until his retirement. It has been awarded biennially since 1996 to authors of short stories who have published at least one previous volume of fiction.