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Award for Short Story Collection

Eberly English Professor Mark Brazaitis

Mark Brazaitis, an English professor in the Eberly College, has won the Devil’s Kitchen Reading Award in Prose for his collection of stories The Incurables.

The award is given by the Department of English at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale (SIUC) and Grassroots, SIUC’s undergraduate literary magazine. One book of prose (novel, short fiction, or literary nonfiction) and one book of poetry are selected each year from hundreds of submissions.

For winning the award, Brazaitis received a $1,000 honorarium and an all-expenses-paid trip to Carbondale, where he participated on panels and give a reading at the Devil’s Kitchen Fall Literary Festival in October. “This is an honor, and I’m thrilled to see The Incurables recognized with such a great prize,” Brazaitis said.

Judges of the award come from the faculty of SIUC’s MFA Program in Creative Writing, with winners selected by the staff of Grassroots. The award is open to single-author titles published by independent, university, or commercial publishers.

The cover of The Incurables The Incurables, published by the University of Notre Dame Press, won the 2012 Richard Sullivan Prize and was a finalist for the ForeWord Book of the Year Awards. The audio version was released in July. Most of the stories in The Incurables center on characters’ struggles with mental illnesses.

In its review of the book, the Times Literary Supplement noted that, “The figures at the center of [Brazaitis’s] narratives are sometimes lonely or needy or deluded in the extreme; furthermore, their conditions are often contagious, hereditary, or irremediable. But laughter is a refuge or a tonic for almost all of them, and even the most agonizing stories in The Incurables are funny.”