2014 Winner
T. C. Boyle

2014 Rea Award Winner TC Boyle
Photo: Jamieson Fry © 2013

Richard Bausch
Robert Olen Butler
Elizabeth Strout

Press Release

T. C. BOYLE IS WINNER OF
2014 REA AWARD FOR THE SHORT STORY

New York, N.Y. – The $30,000 Rea Award for the Short Story winner is T. C. BOYLE.

Michael M. Rea founded The Rea Award for the Short Story in 1986 to encourage the writing of short fiction. The annual $30,000 Rea Award recognizes a living U. S. or Canadian writer. Rea established the award to honor a writer who has made a significant contribution to the discipline of the short story as an art form.

The Rea Award is sponsored by the Dungannon Foundation. Three jurors are appointed each year to nominate and elect the winner. This year’s jurors, noted writers Richard Bausch, Robert Olen Butler and Elizabeth Strout, offered the following citation:

T.C. Boyle is a genuine American original. In more than one hundred short stories and ten story collections (plus fifteen novels), Tom Boyle has furnished his own highly public and deluxe corner of contemporary American letters. His stories fairly glitter with imagination, an immense variety, hilarity, ambition and achieved talent. To his enduring credit and his readers’ delight and amaze, less is not in the Boyle fictive vocabulary, though in his stories’ dedication to matters of the heart and the human spirit, his finely tuned wit and his vision of our sometimes sad American fate have nothing of the cynical or the hopeless. His incomparable stories, even in their occasional dark interludes, always comes to us as a celebration. They redeem us and delight us and awaken our awareness as the finest writing should.

T. Coraghessan Boyle has authored more than one hundred short stories and fifteen novels. His story collections include Stories II, The Collected Stories of T. C. Boyle; Wild Child; The Human Fly; Tooth and Claw; After the Plague; T. C. Boyle Stories which won the PEN/Malamud Award; Without a Hero; If the River Was Whiskey, winner of a PEN Center West Literary Prize; Greasy Lake; and Descent of Man, his first book.

Five times honored in The O. Henry Prize Stories, Boyle has received numerous awards and honors. Water Music, Boyle’s first novel won France’s Prix Passion prize. He won the PEN/Faulkner award for his novel World’s End and the Prix Médicis Étranger for The Tortilla Curtain. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Boyle was the recipient of two National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships; a Guggenheim Fellowship; the Howard D. Vursell Memorial Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the PEN/New England Henry David Thoreau Prize. In March of this year he was awarded the Robert Kirsch Award for Lifetime Achievement. His fifteenth novel, New York Times bestseller The Harder They Come, was just released in March 2015.

In addition to his published story collections, T. C. Boyle’s work has appeared five times in The Best American Short Stories and in numerous periodicals and anthologies including The Pushcart Prize, Granta, The Atlantic Monthly, The New Yorker, Harper’s and The Paris Review. T. C. Boyle’s books have been translated into twenty-five languages.

“Art bailed me out.It sounds corny but there’s a power in it that I would never give up. There’s a light that fills you when you’re writing; there’s a magic. I don’t know what it is. It’s a miracle and it’s a rush and immediately on finishing, you want to do it again. It’s so utterly thrilling to me; it’s all I want to do.”     T. C. Boyle

In addition to The Rea Award for the Short Story, the Dungannon Foundation also sponsors Rea Visiting Writers and Rea Visiting Lecturers at the University of Virginia, and Selected Shorts: A Celebration of the Short Story at Symphony Space in New York City.

2016 Winner
Jim Shepard

2016 Rea Award Winner Jim Shepard
Photo: Barry Goldstein

Deborah Eisenberg
Amy Hempel
Joy Williams

Press Release

JIM SHEPARD IS WINNER OF
2016 REA AWARD FOR THE SHORT STORY

CELEBRATING THE REA AWARD’S 30TH ANNIVERSARY

New York, N.Y. – The $30,000 REA AWARD WINNER IS JIM SHEPARD.

Michael M. Rea established the Rea Award in 1986 to honor a writer who has made a significant contribution to the discipline of the short story form. This year marks the Rea Award’s 30th Anniversary. Under the direction of Elizabeth Richebourg Rea, the annual Rea Award continues.When asked what has sustained her three decades on: I am honoring Michael’s legacy; he founded the award out of a passionate love for the short story form. I believe the public profile of the story is stronger today and I think Michael would be encouraged by the output of story writing. The continued pursuit to acknowledge and celebrate short story writers was Michael’s purpose.The journey toward this milestone year has been rewarding beyond measure.

The Jurors for this special year, previous winners of the award, Deborah Eisenberg, Amy Hempel and Joy Williams, have written the following citation:

In the course of visiting other centuries, a range of nations, and the homes of ordinary citizens, JIM SHEPARD has—in five stellar collections of stories and seven novels—proved himself an original, darkly funny, and deeply humane writer. His prodigious research combined with a kind of X-ray vision of the soul produces stories that we learn from, that improve us, that expand our sense of what a life can be. He is a master of stance and throwaway wit. His scholarship and surpassing imagination work in tandem in matchless stories that glorify the commonplace and understate the extraordinary. He reveals people–not “characters”– through sports, history, dogs, drama, the Hindenburg. He sees the everyday violence of family life as both a given and an illimitable mystery. He shows us the world as it could have been, as it is, and, to cite his most recent collection: The World to Come.

Jim Shepard is the author of five short story collections and seven novels. His story collections include Batting Against Castro (1996); Love and Hydrogen (2004); Like You’d Understand, Anyway (2007), which won the Story Prize, and was a finalist for The National Book Award; You Think That’s Bad (2011); and the recently released The World to Come: Stories (2017). His novels include Flights (1983); Paper Doll (1986); Lights Out in the Reptile House (1990); Kiss of the Wolf (1994); Nosferatu (1998); Project X (2004) and The Book of Aron (2015). About The World to Come, The Daily Beast wrote “Without a doubt the most ambitious story writer in America, Jim Shepard spans borders and centuries with unrivaled mastery…[his] characters face everything from the emotional pitfalls of everyday life to historic catastrophes on a global scale. Shepard makes…these wildly various worlds his own, and never before has he delineated anything like them so powerfully.”

Shepard has won the PEN/New England Award for Fiction, the L.D. and Laverne Harrell Clark Fiction Prize and a Guggenheim Fellowship. Six of his short stories have been chosen for the Best American Short Stories, two for the PEN/O. Henry Prize Stories, and one for a Pushcart Prize. Shepard’s short fiction has appeared in McSweeney’s, Granta, The Atlantic Monthly, Esquire, Harper’s, The NewYorker, The Paris Review, Zoetrope:All Story, Electric Literature, Ploughshares,Triquarterly, Tin House, and Playboy among numerous other magazines.

Jim Shepard has long been passionate in his determination to put science and history to use in fiction, and to, as he puts it, make himself into a more interesting person. In an interview with the Boston Globe, he notes “My fiction is very research-based, but it’s not just because I want to get the facts right. The good news for fiction writers is that once you start reading history, you teach yourself about all sorts of things you didn’t know you didn’t know. And you realize that histories don’t always agree on the facts, so you have a little wiggle room. That wiggle room is where fiction writers operate…I’m trying to do something that persuades me and provides the basis for a persuasive illusion.” In a recent New York Times review, Craig Taylor writes that “This approach gives the individual stories heft and the collections a dizzying range” and that “Shepard also understands that one of the pleasures in reading a story collection lies in seeing how the stories themselves interact.”

TheWorld to Come: Stories chronicles the 1845 Franklin Expedition to find the Northwest Passage, a British submarine more or less alone in the Indian Ocean at the apogee of Japanese success in the War in the Pacific; and one of the greatest cyclones in Queensland’s recorded history. One of the thematic preoccupations of Shepard’s work has been the amount of trouble we can get into through passivity, and complicity with more aggressive and powerful forces or people. As he’s put it, he’s “always been drawn to catastrophe as a subject, particularly man-made catastrophe.”

In addition to The Rea Award for the Short Story, the Dungannon Foundation also sponsors ReaVisiting Writers and ReaVisiting Lecturers at the University of Virginia, and Selected Shorts: A Celebration of the Short Story at Symphony Space in New York City.

1991 Winner
Paul Bowles

1991 Rea Award Winner Paul Bowles

Joel Conarroe
Francine du Plessix Gray
Joyce Carol Oates

Press Release

The $25,000 Rea Award for the Short Story has been awarded to PAUL BOWLES.

The Rea Award for the Short Story was established in 1986, to honor a writer who has made a significant contribution to the short story as an art form. It is given annually by the Dungannon Foundation to a living U.S. writer. The recipient is nominated and selected by a jury – the award cannot be applied for.

Previous winners of the Rea Award for the Short Story are Cynthia Ozick (1986), Robert Coover (1987), Donald Barthleme (1988),Tobias Wolff (1989) and Joyce Carol Oates (1990).

Jurors for the 1991 Rea Award for the Short Story were Joel Conarroe, author and President of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, Francine du Plessix Gray, author of works of fiction and non-fiction, and novelist and short story writer, Joyce Carol Oates.

In selecting this year’s winner, the jury gave the following citation:

“Paul Bowles is a storyteller of the utmost purity and integrity. He writes of a world before God became man; a world in which men and women in extremis are seen as components in a larger, more elemental drama. His prose is crystalline and his voice unique. Among living American masters of the short story, Paul Bowles is sui generis.”

Born in New York in 1910, Paul Bowles went to Europe in the 1920s to study music with Aaron Copeland. In 1938 he married the writer, Jane Auer. After World War II, he and Jane settled in Tangier, Morocco, where he still makes his home. He combines various talents – novelist, translator, poet, composer and short-story writer. While his work has been highly esteemed by other writers and he has become a cult figure, it is less familiar to general readers. Aside from The Sheltering Sky, he has so far not received much public attention.

Paul Bowles’ short-story collections include The Delicate Prey and Other Stories, A Distant Episode: The Selected Stories and Collected Stories of Paul Bowles. A recurrent them in Bowles’ work – the dilemma of an outsider in an alien society – is captured by Paul Gray in his Time review of Collected Stories:

“He writes from a sensibility that is foreign or at least remote from the American ordinary – a sensibility that identifies with nature, natural forces and spirit of place. The essential Paul Bowles plot charts a clash between two cultures, one usually Western and the other primitive. Visitors come to feast on the picturesque and take one step off the beaten path. Sometimes their fate is terrible.”

Three short stories caused a major stir in the literary world when they first appeared in the 1940s: “A Distant Episode,” “Pages from Cold Point” and “The Delicate Prey.” As Gore Vidal wrote, “they were immediately recognized as being unlike anything else in our literature…as a short story writer, Paul Bowles has had few equals in the second half of the twentieth century.”

1997 Winner
Gina Berriault

1997 Rea Award Winner Gina Berriault

Andre Dubus
Cynthia Ozick
Tobias Wolff

Press Release

1997 REA AWARD TO HONOR FOUNDER

Three of America’s foremost writers will serve on a special memorial jury for the 1997 Rea Award for the Short Story. The writers are Andre Dubus, Cynthia Ozick and Tobias Wolff.

The Rea Award for the Short Story is given annually to a writer who has made a significant contribution to the short story as an art form. To qualify, a candidate must be a U.S. or Canadian citizen. The recipient who is nominated and selected by a jury receives a $30,000 award. The winner of the 1997 Rea Award will be announced in April.

This year’s award is a tribute to its founder, Michael Rea, who died at his Connecticut home in July of last year. Mr. Rea established the Rea Award for the Short Story in 1986 through his philanthropic organization, the Dungannon Foundation. The award is being continued through the patronage of his wife, Elizabeth Rea, of Washington, Connecticut.

In commenting on the jurors for 1997, Elizabeth Rea said, “Cynthia Ozick was the first winner of the Rea Award 10 years ago in 1986; Toby Wolff, a mentor of Michael’s, won in 1989; and Andre Dubus won in April 1996 just before my husband died. These jurors hold a special place in the history of the Rea Award for me and for my beloved husband, who was passionate in his support of short story writing.”

Andre Dubus has been committed to the short story as his primary form of fiction writing. His short story collections include Separate Flights, Adultery and Other Choices, Finding A Girl in America, The Times Are Never So Bad. The Last Worthless Evening, Selected Stories and Dancing After Hours. He has received the PEN/Malamud Award, the Jean Stein Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Boston Globe’s first annual Lawrence L. Winship Award and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts and the MacArthur Foundation.

Cynthia Ozick is the author of short stories, essays, novels and a play. Her most recent collection of essays is Fame & Folly. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Her fiction and essays have appeared in numerous anthologies including Best American Short Stories and she has been awarded four O’Henry First Prizes for the Short Story. Her short story, Save My Child, will appear in the next Best American Short Stories. The Puttermesser Papers, a novel, is forthcoming from Knopf in June 1997.

Tobias Wolff ’s three short story collections are In the Garden of the North American Martyrs, Back in the World and The Night in Question. He is the author of the novel.. The Barracks Thief and of two memoirs. This Boy’s Life and In Pharao’s Army. His short stories have appeared in The Atlantic, Antaeus, Esquire, Granta, The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, and other magazines, journals and anthologies in the U.S. and abroad. He is writer-in-residence at Syracuse University. His prizes include the Los Angeles Times Book Award and the PEN/Faulkner Award.

In addition to Andre Dubus, Cynthia Ozick and Tobias Wolff, winners of the Rea Award for the Short Story were Robert Coover (1987), Donald Barthelme (1988), Joyce Carol Oates (1990), Paul Bowles (1991), Eudora Welty (1992), Grace Paley (1993),Tillie Olsen (1994) and Richard Ford (1995).

2005 Winner
Ann Beattie

2005 Rea Award Winner Ann Beattie
Photo: Sigrid Estrada

Sherman Alexie
Ron Carlson
Tess Gallagher

Press Release

New York, N.Y. – The annual $30,000 Rea Award for the Short Story is awarded to ANN BEATTIE.

Michael M. Rea, a passionate reader and collector of short stories, founded The Rea Award for the Short Story in 1986 to be given annually to a living American writer whose work has made a “significant contribution to the discipline of the short story as an art form." The Rea Award is unique in that it is not given for a specific collection of stories or for a body of work, but rather for artistic achievement, originality and influence on the genre. Mr. Rea, who traced his love of the short story back to his Irish roots noted, “The basic thrust of the award is to foster a literary cause, to ennoble the form, to give it prestige.”

Sponsored by the Dungannon Foundation, The Rea Award continues under the direction of Rea’s widow, Elizabeth Richebourg Rea. This year’s jurors are writers, Sherman Alexie, Ron Carlson and Tess Gallagher. The jurors are selected based on their knowledge, background, and interest in the genre of the short story. This year’s jurors have written the following citation:

“Ann Beattie is a writer for and of her time. For more than thirty years she has written stories that form a chronicle of American life. Her prose has become known for its vivid particularity, the details of the way we live. But her stories have insisted on their place in American letters because of her ability to imply the way the human heart confronts the confusion of attachment and loss. She approaches the intricacies of contemporary life, layered and frazzled as it is, in such a way that we accompany characters who sometimes find their lives softly caving in or imploding. There is a complexity in her best work that reveals new gradations of the oldest emotions. Rarely neat, her narratives explore the way men and women struggle with new emotional territory, the gray areas of love and vulnerability. In her prolific investigation of character there is an intelligence and compassion that is ultimately affirming, not because it is hopeful toward any upturn, but because we respect the utter intensity of its seeking to find out what makes us ache and care for the people in the lives next to ours.”

Ann Beattie has received critical acclaim for her depiction of the generation of Americans who grew up in the 1960’s. She has published eight collections of short stories, including Park City, What Was Mine, Where You’ll Find Me, The Burning House and the recently published Follies: New Stories. The Washington Post has called her “one of the era’s most vital masters of the short form.” She is also the author of seven novels, including The Doctor’s House, Another You and Picturing Will.

Ann Beattie’s many honors include the Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and the PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in Short Fiction. She is a member of The American Academy of Arts and Letters and The American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Her stories have been included in three O’Henry Collections and John Updike’s Best American Short Stories of the Century. Her forthcoming Lincoln Perry’s Charlottesville, is a collaboration with her husband, the painter Lincoln Perry.

Ann Beattie is currently the Edgar Allan Poe Professor of English and Creative Writing at The University of Virginia.

In addition to The Rea Award for the Short Story, the Dungannon Foundation sponsors Writer’s and Lecturer’s programs at universities across the country and also helps fund the Selected Shorts program at Symphony Space in New York City.

2011 Winner
Charles Baxter

2011 Rea Award Winner Charles Baxter
Photo: Keri Pickett

Stuart Dybek
Bill Henderson
Lorrie Moore

Press Release

CHARLES BAXTER IS WINNER OF
25TH ANNIVERSARY 2011 REA AWARD FOR THE SHORT STORY

New York, N.Y. – The 2011 Rea Award for the Short Story is presented to Charles Baxter. This year marks the 25th Anniversary of The Rea Award for the Short Story. The late Michael M. Rea founded The Rea Award for the Short Story in 1986 to encourage the writing of short fiction. The annual $30,000 Rea Award recognizes a living U.S. or Canadian writer who has in Rea’s words: “made a significant contribution to the discipline of the short story as an art form”.

Previous winners of the Rea Award include Richard Ford, Grace Paley, Ann Beattie, Tobias Wolff and John Updike. The first winner of The Rea Award Cynthia Ozick said, “…the Rea Award is an indispensable American institution and a coveted American prize. It is our little Nobel – little only in the sense that it addresses the short form.”

Elizabeth Richebourg Rea continues her husband’s legacy for the past fifteen years as President of the Dungannon Foundation, sponsor of The Rea Award. Three Jurors are appointed each year to nominate and select the winner. This years jurors are noted writers Stuart Dybek, Bill Henderson and Lorrie Moore. The jurors have written the following citation:

Charles Baxter is a writer of elegant sentences, an expert in the mechanics of dramatic narration, and a master of psychological exile, which is the unexotic but special terrain of the short story. His first book of fiction, the story collection Harmony of the World, published more than twenty five years ago, announced an original mind and ironic wit, and all of his collections since (including his recent career crowning compendium, Gryphon: New and Selected Stories) have revealed similar strengths and concerns: the often suspenseful estrangement within family life; the homemade spirituality of midwestern eccentrics; the plight of a cruel economy’s stragglers; the dubious safety of the middle ground. Ordinary madness is revealed then reconsidered. Quietly political and emotionally precise, whether registering the moods and faces of strangers or the complex of fond and hateful ways Americans converse, Baxter’s stories have especially shown an acute feeling for the landscape of marriage, childhood, and art.

Charles Baxter is the author of six short story collections: Harmony of the World which won the Associated Writing Programs Award; Through the Safety Net; A Relative Stranger; Believers; and Gryphon: New and Selected Stories. He has written five novels: First Light; Shadow Play; Saul and Patsy; The Soul Thief and The Feast of Love, which became the basis of a 2007 film, and was a finalist for the 2000 National Book Award. In addition, he published a book of poetry, Imaginary Paintings, and non–fiction works, Burning Down the House, and The Art of The Subtext: Beyond Plot, which won the 2008 Minnesota Book Award for General Non–fiction.

Among other numerous honors and awards Baxter won the Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a National Endowment for the Arts Grant, the Lawrence Foundation Award, the Michigan Author of the Year Award, a Michigan Council for the Arts Grant, and a Lila Wallace¬Reader’s Digest Foundation Fellowship.

Charles Baxter is often called a writer’s writer. In an interview with the Atlantic, he said, “I feel as if I’m in a familiar locale when I’m writing short stories, since I often feel as if I know where everything is. I love the directness of the form…for me, stories begin when things start to go wrong”. His characters often seem ordinary until a chance encounter, a persistent nagging or a tilt in their world order pushes them to make sudden, feverish decisions.

Charles Baxter currently teaches at the University of Minnesota and the Warren Wilson College MFA Program for Writers.

In addition to The Rea Award for the Short Story, the Dungannon Foundation also sponsors Rea Visiting Writers and Rea Visiting Lecturers at the University of Virginia, and Selected Shorts: A Celebration of the Short Story at Symphony Space in New York City.

2012 Winner
Richard Bausch

2012 Rea Award Winner Richard Bausch

Stuart Dybek
Richard Ford

Press Release

RICHARD BAUSCH IS WINNER OF
2012 REA AWARD FOR THE SHORT STORY

New York, N.Y. – The annual $30,000 Rea Award for the Short Story is awarded to RICHARD BAUSCH.

Michael M. Rea, a passionate reader and collector of short stories, founded The Rea Award for the Short Story in 1986 to be given annually to a living United States or Canadian writer whose work has made a “significant contribution to the discipline of the short story form”. The Rea Award is unique in that it is not given for lifetime achievement, a collection of stories or for a writer’s body of work but rather for originality and influence on the genre. Cynthia Ozick, the first winner of The Rea Award, said, “By now the Rea Award is an indispensable American institution and a coveted American prize. It is our little Nobel – little only in the sense that it addresses the short form. ”Michael M. Rea died in the summer of 1996. Sponsored by the Dungannon Foundation, named after Rea’s Irish ancestors, The Rea Award continues under the direction of his widow, Elizabeth Richebourg Rea.

Previous winners of the Rea Award include Ann Beattie, Lorrie Moore, Grace Paley, James Salter and Tobias Wolff.

In selecting this year’s winner, jurors: Stuart Dybek, and Richard Ford gave the following citation:

Richard Bausch is a shining light in the small group of great American story-writers.  His stories, published in many languages and widely anthologized in our own country, bear out the directive that literature should renew our sensuous and emotional lives and foster a new awareness in its readers.  Bausch’s stories, solidly, eloquently in the realistic tradition shared by O’Connor (Frank and Flannery). Welty, Cheever and Yates, are ever in search of the heretofore unsayable in human affairs.  In doing so, they are incisive, surprising, felicitous, various, often mirthful, and unstintingly about those subjects we can not afford to ignore: matters of life and death, yes; but chiefly matters of life sustained.

Richard Bausch is the author of eight collections of stories and eleven novels.  His story collections include the recently published Something is Out There, The Norton Anthology of Short Fiction, The Stories of Richard Bausch, Someone to Watch Over Me: Stories, Selected Stories of Richard Bausch, The Fireman’s Wife, and Other Stories and Spirits, and Other Stories. His novel, The Last Good Time was made into a feature-length motion picture, directed by Bob Balaban, starring Armin Meuhler-Stahl, Maureen Stapleton, and Lionel Stander, released in April 1995, and Peace, published in 2008, was awarded the 2010 Dayton International Literary Peace Prize.

Richard Bausch has won two National Magazine Awards, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a Lila-Wallace Reader’s Digest Fund Writer’s Award, the Award of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and The 2004 PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in the Short Story. In 1995 he was elected to the Fellowship of Southern Writers. In 1999 he signed on as co-editor, with R.V. Cassill, of The Norton Anthology of Short Fiction.  Today Bausch remains the sole editor of this prestigious anthology after the passing of Cassill in 2002. In February 2012 Bausch received from Centenary College, The John William Corrington Award for Literary Excellence.  Bausch is currently with The Writing Program at Chapman University in Orange, California.

While Bausch’s novels have been met with critical acclaim, his mastery of the short story form is arguably his greatest literary achievement. In addition to his published story collections, his work has appeared in The Atlantic Monthly, Esquire, Harper’s, The New Yorker, Narrative, Gentleman’s Quarterly, Playboy, The Southern Review, New Stories From the South, The Best American Short Stories, O. Henry Prize Stories and The Pushcart Prize Stories; and they have been widely anthologized, including The Granta Book of the American Short Story, and The Vintage Book of the Contemporary American Short Story. The Modern Library published The Selected Stories of Richard Bausch in March, 1996, a distinction rarely accorded to a contemporary writer.

In addition to The Rea Award for the Short Story, the Dungannon Foundation also sponsors Rea Visiting Writers and Rea Visiting Lecturers at the University of Virginia, and Selected Shorts: A Celebration of the Short Story at Symphony Space in New York City.

1988 Winner
Donald Barthelme

1988 Rea Award Winner Donald Barhelme
Photo: Mariann Cook

Benjamin DeMott
Bill Henderson
Cynthia Ozick

Press Release

The $25,000 Rea Award for the Short Story has been awarded to DONALD BARTHELME.

The Rea Award for the Short Story was established in 1986, to honor a writer who has made a significant contribution to short story writing. It is given annually by the Dungannon Foundation to a living U.S. writer.The recipient is nominated and selected by a jury – the award cannot be applied for.

Previous winners of the Rea Award for the Short Story are Cynthia Ozick (1986) and Robert Coover (1987).

Michael Rea, president of the Dungannon Foundation, says of the winner: It seems right. Barthelme adds considerable heft to the concept of the award; like the other distinguished recipients, Barthelme makes a most significant contribution to the art form.

Jurors for the 1988 Rea Award for the Short Story were Benjamin DeMott, Bill Henderson and Cynthia Ozick.

In announcing this year’s winner, the jury gave the following citation:

Mockery and exaltation regularly co-habit in Donald Barthelme’s stories. The voice of pop sings in sweet mysterious harmony with the voice of traditional philosophical and literary culture, and at moments intuitions of beatitude intrude suddenly on the excruciations of urban life. No richer – or funnier – discourse exists in contemporary American fiction.

Donald Barthelme is a humorist, who creates a tragicomic view of ordinary life and its tribulations. He does not try to imbue his stories with meaning. Instead, he evokes the shape of meaning and its infinite possibilities. As he put it :

Perception is like balls of different colors and shapes and sizes that roll around on the green billiard table of consciousness.

His short story collections include Forty Stories, Overnight to Many Distant Cities, City Life and Unspeakable Practices, Unnatural Acts.

2015 Winner
Andrea Barrett

2015 Rea Award Winner Andrea Barrett
Photo: Barry Goldstein

T. C. Boyle
Bill Henderson
Karen Shepard

Press Release

ANDREA BARRETT IS WINNER OF
2015 REA AWARD FOR THE SHORT STORY

New York, N.Y. – The $30,000 Rea Award Winner is ANDREA BARRETT.

Michael M. Rea founded The Rea Award for the Short Story in 1986 to encourage the writing of short fiction. The annual $30,000 Rea Award recognizes a living U. S. or Canadian writer. Rea established the award to honor a writer who has made a significant contribution to the discipline of the short story as an art form.

The Rea Award is sponsored by the Dungannon Foundation. Three jurors are appointed each year to nominate and elect the winner. This year’s jurors, noted writers T. C. Boyle,
Bill Henderson and Karen Shepard, offered the following citation:

In three collections of stories and six novels, Andrea Barrett has continually enlarged the geography of her imagination, and her lucky readers have been the beneficiaries of those explorations, experiencing, as her characters so often do, the way our own small pasts bear on our own small present.  Barrett offers us the news from other worlds as a way to understand our own. In settings ranging all over the globe and from all different time periods, she specializes in examining what’s particularly human in the science we do, bringing those traditionally disparate worlds to bear on each other in surprising and moving ways.  And she accomplishes those broad thematic implications with a precise and quietly intelligent style that surprises and disturbs and gratifies.  That deceptive formal modesty keeps our focus on the world at the fiction’s heart and produces testimonies designed to celebrate the attested rather than the attester.  The result has been a body of stories that like all great fiction expands our knowledge, brings us more fully into contact with the suffering of others, and supplies intense and gorgeous pleasure.

Andrea Barrett is the author of three short story collections and six novels. Her story collections include Ship Fever (1996), winner of the 1996 National Book Award; Servants of the Map (2002), a finalist for the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction; and most recently Archangel (2013), a finalist for The Story Prize and also featured in the New York Review of Books. Her novels include Lucid Stars (1988), Secret Harmonies (1989), The Middle Kingdom (1991), The Forms of Water (1993), The Voyage of the Narwhal (1998) and The Air We Breathe (2007).

Among her numerous awards and grants Barrett won a 1992 National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, was awarded a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship in 1997 and in 2001 received a fellowship at the New York Public Library’s Center for Scholars and Writers. In 2001 Barrett was awarded the highly esteemed MacArthur Fellowship.

Andrea Barrett’s stories have appeared in numerous periodicals and anthologies including A Public Space, The Paris Review, Tin House, Ploughshares, The Pushcart Prize, One Story, TriQuarterly, Salmagundi, The American Scholar, and the Kenyan Review. Her fiction and essays have been selected for Best American Short Stories, Best American Science Writing and Best American Essays. “The Particles” won a 2013 PEN/O. Henry Prize and a new story, “Wonders of the Shore,” will appear in Best American Short Stories, 2016.

As in the work of William Faulkner, some of Barrett’s characters have appeared in more than one story or novel. In an appendix to The Air We Breathe (2007), Barrett supplied a family tree, making clear the characters’ relationships that began in Ship Fever. The intertwining of these families has continued through the stories of Archangel (2013) and into her most recent work. Although each novel and story is self-contained, the reader comprehends an added dimension when familiar with the characters’ previous histories.

“I’m trying to make a very quiet point,” she says, “I’m trying to make the reader feel the effects of genetic linkage, feel the molecules of DNA tumbling across time and space and continents, combining and recombining. Families and people from different cultures marry and have children, who move to other places and marry yet other people; I want to convey a palpable sense of those relationships over time. I want to bring that very lightly to the surface without having it dominate.”

Barrett is particularly well known as a writer of historical fiction, her work reflecting her lifelong interest in science, and women in science. The Chicago Tribune has said that “to call Barrett our poet laureate of science is perfectly apropos, as long as we recognize that her specialty is the heart.”

In addition to The Rea Award for the Short Story, the Dungannon Foundation also sponsors Rea Visiting Writers and Rea Visiting Lecturers at the University of Virginia, and Selected Shorts: A Celebration of the Short Story at Symphony Space in New York City.

1986 Winner
Cynthia Ozick

1986 Rea Award Winner Cynthia Ozick
photo: Ricki Rosen

Bill Abrahams
Shannon Ravanel
Peter Schmidt

Press Release

Born in New York City, CYNTHIA OZICK is married to Bernard Hallote, a lawyer, and has one daughter, Rachel.

She earned her BA cum laude in English from New York University in 1949, and an MA from Ohio State University in 1951. She is the author of six books: The Pagan Rabbi and other stories; Bloodshed and Three Novellas; Levitation: Five Fictions; Art & Ardor: Essays;Trust (a novel); and The Cannibal Galaxy (a novel). She is also the author of over 100 poems, essays, articles and reviews and the translator of Yiddish prose and poetry including Leivick, Stuzkever, Tabatchnik, and Glatstein. Her work is translated into Swedish, Dutch, German, Italian, Arabic, Japanese, French, Finnish, Hebrew, and Yugoslavian. She has lectured all over the United States and given readings in Canada, Italy, Israel, Denmark and Sweden. In 1982 she served as Distinguished Artist in Residence at the City University of New York. Her fiction and essays have appeared in numerous anthologies and periodicals, including “The New Yorker,” “Harper’s,” “Commentary,” “The New Criterion,” “The New York Review of Books,” “The New York Times Book Review,” and “Partisan Review.”

Some of the prizes and awards she has received include: National Endowment for the Arts Fellow (1968); Edward Lewis Wallant Award for Fiction (1972); nominee National Book Award (1972); nominee National Book Critics Circle Award (1982,1983); chosen for inclusion in Best American Short Stories (Houghton Mifflin) (1970, 1976, 1982, 1984); First Prize, Doubleday’s Prize Stories: The O’Henry Awards (1975, 1981, 1984); Guggenheim Fellow (1982); American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters; Strauss Living Award (1983); Distinguished Service in Jewish Letters Award; Jewish Theological Seminary (1984); Distinguished Alumnus Award, New York University (1984); nominee Pen/Faulkner Award (1984).

She has honorary degrees from Yeshiva University (1984), Hebrew Union College (1984) and delivered the Phi Beta Kappa oration at Harvard (1985). She is a member of the Phi Beta Kappa, PEN and the Author’s League.

Citation

The Rea Award has been established explicitly to honor writers who have made significant contributions to the short story; and implicitly, as a way of emphasizing the distinction of the genre in its own right, rather than as a lesser subdivision under the general heading of fiction. The first writer chosen to receive the Award is Cynthia Ozick, whose collections The Pagan Rabbi and Levitation, and her recent as yet uncollected stories, superbly exemplify those qualities the Award celebrates. “A writer of great intelligence, moral energy, imaginative power, Cynthia Ozick has appreciably widened the range of what the short story is able to be. We can see this best in her now classic story, “The Shawl,” where she has taken upon herself the burden of a story whose source is in the Holocaust. Of that terrible, never-to-be-forgotten evil so much personal and historical evidence has been gathered, written, recorded, transcribed and photographed that a story, a mere story, might seem to count for little measured against so monumental an assemblage. But truth-telling and story-telling are now irreconcilable: in “The Shawl” they are inseparably fused. An inspired writer has conveyed to us in a few pages a moment of life and death, fragments seized from an unspeakable human tragedy and translated into an image that cannot be obliterated. Reading “The Shawl” we are moved past the truth of fact to a deeper, different understanding; we bear witness to the truth of art. Only rarely does this happen, and when it does, it must be celebrated. It is an honor to honor Cynthia Ozick.