Mark Brazaitis, the director of West Virginia University’s Creative Writing Program, has won the Richard Sullivan Prize, which is given biennially to a collection of short stories by the University of Notre Dame’s Creative Writing Program.
Brazaitis, an associate professor in the Department of English, won for his third collection of short stories, “The Incurables,” which will be published by the University of Notre Dame Press in winter/spring 2012-2013. The prize includes $1,000 and a reading at the University of Notre Dame in the spring of 2013.
In the judges’ words, “The competition was a difficult one—every entrant had published at least one previous collection, and nearly every entrant had won previous competitions—but ‘The Incurables’ was a standout.”
Stories in the collection have appeared in “Ploughshares,” “The Sun,” “Post Road,” “Confrontation,” “Cimarron Review,” and the “Notre Dame Review.” The title story was recognized as ‘distinguished’ in the “Best American Short Stories 2009 volume.” Another story, “Afterwards,” was cited as notable in this year’s volume of the “Pushcart Prize: Best of the Small Presses.”
Most of the stories in “The Incurables” are about the effects of mental illness on characters in a small Ohio town, though a few explore the metaphorical implications of the book’s title. One story centers on a difficult—perhaps incurable—father-son relationship; another is about a dead man who would like to resume his place at his family’s side.
“It’s a thrill to win such a great prize,” said Brazaitis, who cited his students and colleagues, as well as administrative support of the arts at WVU as having contributed to his success.
“I’m grateful to be a part of such a vibrant creative writing community here at WVU,” he said. “We’re our own little Left Bank of Paris. I guess we’re the Right Bank of the Mon.”
For more information, contact Mark Brazaitis, assistant professor of English and director of creative writing, at (304) 293–9707 or Mark.Brazaitis@mail.wvu.edu.
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