A Common Person and Other Stories (February 2021), a collection of short stories by R. M. Kinder, was selected by the University of Notre Dame’s Creative Writing Program as the thirteenth winner of the Richard Sullivan Prize in Short Fiction. Judge Valerie Sayers, the William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of English at the University of Notre Dame, calls the collection a “knock-out” that “honors ordinary lives as it gracefully accretes striking images and motifs for tension and impact.”
The stories in A Common Person and Other Stories expose the disruption in our modern life and the ever-present threat of violence, and, most importantly, they capture the real heroism of everyday people. The characters in these stories, most set deep in the middle of America, seem to invite trouble through their concern for others: a neighbor’s mistreated dog, a boy standing up to a bully, a woman who faces cancer and the loss of love. Kinder’s characters struggle with conflicts common to us all—to treat humans and animals with compassion, to open minds and hearts to diversity, all while balancing the welfare of the individual and the larger community.
“R. M. Kinder may be a modern-day Katherine Anne Porter with a vein of Flannery O’Connor darkness squiggling throughout, but she puts me most in mind of Lucia Berlin in sensibility and droll intelligence. Kinder manages to bolster our hope for humanity, even as she doesn’t flinch from the hard face of 21st century reality. A Common Person and Other Stories is full of heart, generosity and absolutely stunning writing.”—Karen Brennan, author of Monsters
“Reading an R. M. Kinder story is like plunging your face into a clear, cold, spring-fed stream. Everything is changed, refreshed, and revelatory. Her beautiful new collection, A Common Person and Other Stories, is a constant, thrilling reminder of magic and power that reside in the people—and the animals—that surround us every day.”—Whitney Terrell. author of The Good Lieutenant
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.”
Previous Sullivan Prize winners include Down Along the Piney by John Mort; God, Moon, and Other Megafauna by Kellie Wells; The Incurables by Mark Brazaitis; and In Envy Country by Joan Frank.
This piece was first published on english.nd.edu/news.
A Common Person and Other Stories will be available in paperback and digital editions from Notre Dame Press in February 2021. For more information, or a review copy, contact Kathryn Pitts, email@example.com, 574.631.3267.