2006 Winner
John Updike

2006 Rea Award Winner John Updike
Photo: Martha Updike

Ann Beattie
Richard Ford
Joyce Carol Oates

Press Release

New York, N.Y. – The annual $30,000 Rea Award for the Short Story is awarded to JOHN UPDIKE. The Rea Award celebrates its 20th year as the most prestigious award exclusively for short story writing.

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 or Canadian 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 book 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.” Michael M. Rea died in the summer of 1996. Sponsored by the Dungannon Foundation, the Rea Award continues under the direction of Elizabeth Richebourg Rea.

On April 11, 2007, Selected Shorts :A Celebration of the Short Story will honor Michael M. Rea and the 20th Anniversary of the Rea Award for the Short Story at Symphony Space in New York City. Participants include Ann Beattie, Richard Ford, Joyce Carol Oates, Cynthia Ozick, Grace Paley, Deborah Eisenberg, Tobias Wolff and John Updike. “Michael’s wish was to encourage the writing of the short story. That was his raison d’etre for founding this award 20 years ago,” said Elizabeth Rea. “John Updike’s prodigious output of powerful stories certainly is encouragement for every writer of short fiction. There was never an Updike book far from Michael’s reach: he collected First Editions; he would say that the short story form is unique in that you could read, in one sitting, a masterpiece of fiction. Updike’s win represents the award’s true meaning and Michael’s ultimate dream fulfilled.”

The jurors for this special year, previous winners of the award, Ann Beattie, Richard Ford and Joyce Carol Oates, have written the following citation:

How rarely it can be said of any of our great American writers that they have been equally gifted in both long and short forms of fiction. Contemplating John Updike’s monumental achievement in the short story, one is moved to think of Nathaniel Hawthorne, Henry James, Ernest Hemingway, and perhaps William Faulkner–writers whose reputations would be as considerable, or nearly, if their short stories had been all that they had written. From John Updike’s remarkable early story collections The Same Door (1959) and Pigeon Feathers (1962) through his beautifully nuanced stories of family life The Music School (1966), Museums and Women (1972), Problems and Other Stories (1979); from the sardonic, richly funny and unexpectedly tender tales of Henry Bech (Bech: A Book, 1970; Bech Is Back, 1982; Bech At Bay, 1998) to the bittersweet humors of middle-age and beyond of Trust Me (1987),The Afterlife (1994), and Licks Of Love (2000), John Updike has created a body of work in the notoriously difficult form of the short story to set beside those of these distinguished American predecessors. Congratulations and heartfelt thanks are due to John Updike for having brought such pleasure and such illumination to so many readers for so many years.

John Updike, whose novels and short stories have brilliantly chronicled the pleasures and frustrations of middle class life for five decades, was born in Shillington, Pennsylvania in 1932. His short stories are published frequently in The New Yorker and are often included in The Best American Short Stories and The O’Henry Prize Stories. In 1999, he edited and wrote the introduction for The Best American Short Stories of the Century. The Early Stories: 1953-1975 was published in 2003 and received the Pen/Faulkner Award for Fiction.

John Updike won the National Book Award for his novel, The Centaur, in 1963 and went on to win the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Pulitzer Prize and the American Book Award for Rabbit is Rich. He was awarded a second Pulitzer Prize and second National Book Critics Circle Award for Rabbit at Rest. He is one of the few people to have won both the National Medal of the Arts (1989) and the National Medal for the Humanities (2003).

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

1989 Winner
Tobias Wolff

1989 Rea Award Winner Tobias Wolff
Photo: Jerry Bauer

C. Michael Curtis
Stanley W. Lindberg
Joy Williams

Press Release

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

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) and Donald Barthleme (1988).

Jurors for the 1989 Rea Award for the Short Story were C. Michael Curtis, senior editor of The Atlantic , Stanley W. Lindberg, editor of The Georgia Review, and novelist and short story writer Joy Williams.

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

"While the contemporary short story appears in many guises and with varied intentions, the most likely shepherd of this variegated flock is Tobias Wolff, a story-teller of relentless curiosity, moral industry and wit. For more than ten years, Wolff has been slowly and steadily producing a body of work that simply cannot be overlooked by serious students and practitioners of the short story."

Tobias Wolff is the author of two highly acclaimed short-story collections, In the Garden of the North American Martyrs (1981) and Back in the World (1985).

About the material for his stories, Tobias Wolff says: “Most of my work is drawn in one way or another from my own experience. I have guessed ages and weights for a living, been a waiter and busboy and a night watchman, spent several months as a reporter and four years in the army. The strange, nomadic, puzzling life I’ve led is my research.”

Following are comments on his short story collections:
In the Garden of the North American Martyrs
“The work of a young master. I have not read a book of stories in years that has given me such a shock of amazement and recognition – and such pleasure.” — Raymond Carver

Back in the World
“The short story does what many so-called serious novels rarely do: it tells a story. In Back in the World Tobias Wolff tells ten of them, superbly.” — Time

1999 Winner
Joy Williams

1999 Rea Award Winner Joy Williams

Robert Coover
Susan Dodd
John Edgar Wideman

Press Release

NEW YORK, NY – The Rea Award for the Short Story, a $30,000 annual prize, is awarded this year to JOY WILLIAMS, the author of two acclaimed collections of short stories and a distinct voice in American fiction.

The Rea Award for the Short Story was established in 1986 by the late Michael M. Rea to honor a living United States or Canadian writer who has made a significant contribution to the short story form. The award is given not for one specific work, but rather for the writer’s originality and influence on the genre. Michael Rea, who was a passionate reader and collector of short stories as well as a writer, established the award to encourage writers to maintain loyalty to the art of short fiction and to ennoble the form. The award continues under the direction of Mr. Rea’s wife, Elizabeth Richebourg Rea, a photographer and curator. The Rea Award for the Short Story is the only award in the United States exclusively for the short story and is sponsored by the Dungannon Foundation, which Mr. Rea established to administer the award. The recipient is nominated and selected by a jury of distinguished writers.

This year’s jurors, Robert Coover, Susan Dodd, and John Edgar Wideman, have issued the following citation about Williams’ work:

The stories of Joy Williams dissolve the lines between chaos and certainty in our daily lives. A single word or sentence, heartbreakingly familiar yet utterly unexpected, ushers us abruptly out of bounds, off-limits. Because her prose is precise and unyielding, because the possibilities her stories imagine – funny, nasty, subversive, enlightening, scary – are compelling alternatives to the usual spin we put on things, we are seduced, freed to examine the arbitrariness of the particular peace or unpeace we’ve negotiated with the world. But even as it makes us uncomfortable, Joy Williams’ fiction renders more light, more life.

Joy Williams’ first collection of short stories, Taking Care, published in 1982, was highly praised. The Washington Post compared the stories to those of Flannery O’Connor and Joyce Carol Oates and said, “Transcending religious and political systems of belief, Williams speaks to us from a plane of pure feeling. Like fine music, these stories circumvent the intellect. Williams seems to make the works themselves transparent and we gaze directly into the souls of her characters.”

A second collection, Escapes, was published in 1990. She is also the author of three novels, State of Grace (1973), which was nominated for a National Book Award, The Changeling (1978), and Breaking and Entering (1988). Many of her stories and essays have been anthologized and she has a new novel and collection of short stories forthcoming. She has been the recipient of many awards and honors, including the Harold and Mildred Strauss Living Award from the American Academy of Arts & Letters.

1998 Winner
John Edgar Wideman

1998 Rea Award Winner John Edgar Wideman
Photo: University of Mass

Grace Paley
Tim O’Brien
Gina Berriault

Press Release

The $30,000 Rea Award for the Short Story has been awarded to JOHN EDGAR WIDEMAN.

Sponsored annually by the Dungannon Foundation, the Rea Award was established in 1986 by the late Michael M. Rea to honor a living United States or Canadian writer who has made a significant contribution to the short story form. It was Michael Rea’s desire to encourage writers to maintain loyalty to the art of short fiction. The award continues under the direction of Mr. Rea’s widow, Elizabeth Richebourg Rea, photographer and curator. The only award in the U.S. exclusively for the short story, it is not given for a specific title, but rather for literary power, originality and influence on the genre. The recipient is nominated by a jury of writers.

This year’s jurors, Gina Berriault, Grace Paley, and Tim O’Brien have offered the following citation:

Profoundly honest, eloquently impassioned, the stories of John Edgar Wideman guide us to a place we’ve never been, into that unexplored area of America’s Heartland for which we’ve had no true compass before his own. More than compassionate, Wideman’s stories are like gospel songs sung by a hundred voices, offering praise to life itself.

According to The New York Times, in its review of The Stories of John Edgar Wideman, “Any American fiction writer who sets the bulk of his work in the same place, or who draws repeatedly on the same characters, inevitably faces comparison with William Faulkner. With John Edgar Wideman’s inner-city Pittsburgh neighborhood of Homewood that comparison is particularly apt.”

John Edgar Wideman’s short story collections include Damballah (Avon, 1981), Fever (Henry Holt, 1989), The Stories of John Edgar Wideman (Pantheon, 1992) and All Stories Are True (Vintage, 1993), which passionately depict African-American life in the Homewood district of Pittsburgh. The Atlanta Journal & Constitution calls these stories “powerful, intense and provocative,” and The Chicago Tribune takes note of Wideman’s “passion for imaginatively studying the present in light of the past, his profound pity, and his heroic distrust of it.”

His novels include A Glance Away, Hurry Home, The Lynchers, Hiding Place, Sent For You Yesterday, Philadelphia Fire and The Cattle Killing. He is the author of a memoir, Brothers and Keepers. He received the PEN/Faulkner Award in 1984 for Sent For You Yesterday and in 1990 for Philadelphia Fire. He was awarded the Lannan Literary Fellowship for Fiction in 1991 and the MacArthur Award in 1993. In 1996, he edited the annual anthology, The Best American Short Stories (Houghton Mifflin). His next novel, Two Cities, will be published in September 1998 by Houghton Mifflin which will also reissue the short story collection Damballah, and the novel, Hiding Place, in July 1998.

1992 Winner
Eudora Welty

1992 Rea Award Winner Eudora Welty
Photo: Nancy Crampton

Russell Banks
Ann Beattie
L. Rust Hills

Press Release

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

Jurors for the 1992 Rea Award for the Short Story were the novelists and short story writers Russell Banks and Ann Beattie, and L. Rust Hills, who has published work by most of America’s major fiction writers as Fiction Editor of Esquire Magazine.

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

“Surely no one in our time has contributed more to the extraordinary power and beauty of the American short story than Eudora Welty. Formally, her stories test, explore and define the limits of the genre. Beyond that, there is a simple humanity, a defining decency, that from the beginning has illuminated the body of her work, and we must treasure and celebrate this quality, for perhaps not since Chekhov have we been in the presence of a writer whose quality of affection for the ordinary man and woman is so clear-eyed, forgiving and unjudgemental.”

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 award cannot be applied for; the recipient is nominated and selected by a jury.

Previous winners of the Rea Award for the Short Story are Cynthia Ozick (1986), Robert Coover (1987), Donald Barthleme (1988), Tobias Wolff (1989), Joyce Carol Oates (1990), and Paul Bowles (1991).

Eudora Welty’s stories of the eccentric, even grotesque characters of a small Mississippi town first came out in the literary magazines, Manuscripts and The Southern Review. Her first short story, “Death of a Traveling Salesman,” appeared in 1936 and is part of her first collection of short stories, A Curtain of Green, which brought her immediate recognition as one of the most gifted American writers. A fiftieth-anniversary edition of A Curtain of Green was published in the fall of 1991 by Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.

As Eudora Welty has acknowledged, she is by inclination a short story writer. Her novels, Losing Battles and The Optimist’s Daughter were conceived as short stories. “What I needed to find out about people and their lives had to be sought through writing stories,” said Eudora Welty. “The thing to wait on, to reach in time for, is the moment in which people reveal themselves…My wish, indeed my passion, would be not to point the finger of judgement, but to part a curtain, that invisible shadow that falls between people, the veil of indifference to each other’s presence, each other’s wonder, each other’s human plight.”

Eudora Welty was born on April 13, 1909 in Jackson, Mississippi where she still lives in the brick house built by her parents. Looking back on her life and work, she reflected in her memoir, A Writer’s Beginnings: “I am a writer who came of a sheltered life. A sheltered life can be a daring life as well. For all serious daring starts from within.”

2013 Winner
Elizabeth Spencer

2013 Rea Award Winner Elizabeth Spencer

Richard Ford
Tom Franklin
Lee Smith

Press Release

ELIZABETH SPENCER IS WINNER OF 2013 REA AWARD FOR THE SHORT STORY

New York, N.Y. – The annual $30,000 Rea Award for the Short Story honors ELIZABETH SPENCER.

Michael M. Rea founded The Rea Award for the Short Story in 1986 to encourage the writing of short fiction. “The basic thrust of the award,” Rea noted, “is to foster a literary cause, to ennoble the form, to give it prestige.” The Award is given annually to a living US or Canadian writer who has made a significant contribution to the discipline of the short story form and is sponsored by the Dungannon Foundation. 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.”

Previous winners of the Rea Award include Ann Beattie, Stuart Dybek, Lorrie Moore, James Salter, Tobias Wolff, Eudora Welty. Writers Richard Ford, Tom Franklin, Lee Smith, jurors for the 2013 Rea Award, offered the following citation:

Elizabeth Spencer is a permanent and treasured part of the American short story vocabulary. Her stories sparkle with acute and often startling intelligence. They are alert to the otherwise unobserved, vital nuances of our most secret selves. They are witty, frequently mordant, emotionally thorough, and both far-ranging and surprising in their sympathies and in their sharp vision of where our human accounts come due. Nominally — but as a writer only nominally — a Southerner, Spencer has for seven decades set her exquisite stories widely — Italy, Canada, Mississippi. And in so doing, she has crafted stories that read large to us, that relish language, that revel in their delicious verbal (and moral) distinctions, that take liberties and never fail to pay off. It is not at all that Ms. Spencer has lasted as a writer, but rather that she has thrived at the height of her powers to a degree that is unparalleled in modern letters.

Elizabeth Spencer is the author of eight short story collections and nine novels. Starting Over (2014) is her most recent collection of stories. Other short story book titles include Ship Island and Other Stories (1968); The Stories of Elizabeth Spencer (1981); Marilee (1981); Jack of Diamonds and Other Stories (1988); On the Gulf (1991); The Light in the Piazza and Other Italian Tales (1996); The Southern Woman: New and Selected Fiction (2001).

The Light in the Piazza (1960) was made into a Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer movie in 1962 starring Olivia de Havilland, Yvette Mimieux and George Hamilton. The Light in the Piazza was also made into a play and opened on Broadway at Lincoln Center in 2005 winning six Tony Awards. The play toured nationwide until 2007 and is still performed in various locales. Spencer also wrote the play For Lease or Sale (1989).

Landscapes of the Heart (1998), a memoir, became the basis of a documentary film entitled Landscapes of the Heart: The Elizabeth Spencer Story. Spencer writes of her work, her life and her long friendship with Eudora Welty, who has said of her work: It has never been doubted that Elizabeth Spencer knows the small, Southern, backwoods hilltown down to the bone. This she transforms by the accuracy of her eye and ear, talent and a certain prankish gaiety of spirit into a vital and absorbing novel.

The Voice at the Back of the Door (1956), Spencer’s novel about racial tension in the South was recommended by the Pulitzer Prize Board in 1957. Other novels include Fire in the Morning (1948), This Crooked Way (1952), Knights and Dragons (1965), No Place For an Angel (1967), The Snare (1972), The Salt Line (1984) and The Night Travelers (1991).

Five times included in the O. Henry Prize Stories, Elizabeth Spencer has received numerous awards notably the PEN/Malamud Award for the Short Story in 2007. Other awards include the Recognition Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1952; a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1953; the Kenyon Review Fiction Fellowship (1956-57), the First Rosenthal Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1957; the Bellaman Award (1968); the Award of Merit Medal for the Short Story from the American Academy in 1983; National Endowments for the Arts Fellowship (1983); the National Endowment for the Arts Senior Fellowship in Literature Grant (1988); the John Dos Passos Award for Literature (1992); the North Carolina Governor’s Award for Literature (1992); The William Faulkner Medal for Literary Excellence, awarded by the Faulkner House Society, New Orleans (2002). She will be presented with the 2014 Sidney Lanier Prize for Southern Literature on April 12 at Mercer University, Macon, Georgia.

Elizabeth Spencer was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1985 and inducted into the North Carolina Hall of Fame for Literature in 2002. She is also a member of PEN Center USA, the Author’s Guild, and is a Charter member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers. Her stories appear regularly in numerous publications including the Atlantic Monthly, the Southern Review, and The New Yorker. Elizabeth Spencer resides in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

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.

2010 Winner
James Salter

2010 Rea Award Winner James Salter
Photo: Holger Andre

Ann Beattie
Mary Robison
Joy Williams

Press Release

New York, N.Y. -The annual $30,000 Rea Award for the Short Story is awarded to JAMES SALTER.

Michael M. Rea, a passionate reader and collector of short stories, founded The Rea Award for the Short Story in 1986 to recognize a living United States or Canadian writer whose work has made a "significant contribution to the discipline of the short story form." The Rea is awarded for an original and unique contribution to literature, to a writer who influences the short story 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."

The Rea Award sponsored by the Dungannon Foundation is directed by Michael Rea’s widow, Elizabeth Richebourg Rea. Three short story writers are appointed annually by Ms.Rea to nominate and select the winner. The jurors for the 2010 Rea Award winner are Ann Beattie, Mary Robison and Joy Williams. About Salter, they write:

American short story writers hold no one in higher esteem than James Salter. He is the most stylish and grave and exact of writers and no one can match the beauty and precision of his prose. One leaves his stories stricken, stripped clean, grateful. His stories have been called imperishable. This is true.

James Salter‘s first story collection Dusk and Other Stories (1988) received the PEN/Faulkner Award in 1989. One of the stories Twenty Minutes from that collection became the basis for the 1996 film Boys. He also wrote a collection of stories, Last Night in 2005.He wrote five novels including The Hunters (1956) later made into a movie starring Robert Mitchum in 1958. The Arm of Flesh (1961) was inspired as well by his
Air Force experiences. He also wrote A Sport and a Pastime (1967). Of Light Years (1975) Jhumpa Lahiri writes: “I had certainly never read sentences so precise, so clean, so fervent and yet so calm.” With Solo Faces, Salter achieved writers’ writer status.Writer Richard Ford once wrote,”sentence for sentence, Salter is the master”.

Downhill Racer (a 1969 film starring Robert Redford) is one of many screenplays Salter wrote for independent and feature films. Other screenplay titles are The Appointment (1969), Three (1969), Threshold (1981) and a book of poetry, Still Such (1988) along with two memoirs, Burning the Days (1997) and Gods of Tin (2004).

James Salter received the award in literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1981. In 2000 he was elected a member. In 2010, he received PEN USA’s Lifetime Achievement Award and in April 2011, The Paris Review‘s Hadada Prize. He was also given the Clifton Fadiman Medal for LightYears. Five of Salter’s stories have appeared in The O’Henry Prize Stories and one in Best American Short Stories.

New York Times critic, Michiko Kakutani said, Salter‘s stories “…can suggest in a single sentence, an individual’s entire history, the complex interplay of longing and fear, hope and need, that has brought about the present.”

William Dowie, Salter‘s biographer is quoted in the Dictionary of Literary Biography “….his best work..will
take the reader’s breath away because of sudden glimpses deep into the pool of life. Indeed it is hard to read a Salter story or novel without being ambushed by recognitions, things one knew instinctively but never
thought about or acted on.”

Salter lives with his wife, the playwright Kay Eldridge in Bridgehampton,NewYork and Aspen, Colorado.

In addition toThe Rea Award for the Short Story, the Dungannon Foundation also sponsors ReaVisiting Writers and ReaVisiting Lecturers at the University ofVirginia, and Selected Shorts:A Celebration of the Short Story at Symphony Space in NewYork City.

2009 Winner
Mary Robison

2009 Rea Award Winner Mary Robison-credit-GSC
Photo: GSC

Andrea Barrett
Amy Hempel
Jayne Anne Phillips

Press Release

Michael M. Rea, a passionate reader and collector of short stories, founded the Rea Award for the Short Story in 1986 to be given 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 is it 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.

Three distinguished writers are appointed annually by Mrs. Rea who each nominate two writers qualified to win the Award. These three jurors read the short stories by the six nominees and meet to determine the winner. The 2009 jurors were Andrea Barrett, Amy Hempel and Jayne Anne Phillips.  They have written the following citation:

For 30 years, Mary Robison has written and published short stories that are prized by readers for their lean, cool ferocity, and their wry takes on people in pivotal moments, rendered in highly selective prose and what John Barth called “hyper-real” speech.  Troubled teenaged girls, a suburban football coach, a star-gazing daughter on a double-date with her mother—these characters lob jokes from the rubble in quotable stories that are psychologically astute, deeply affecting, and often haunting.  Robison’s exacting sense of what to leave out lets her distill lifetimes into these mordant stories that are both timeless and entirely of the moment.  Raymond Carver called her “a precisionist,” this brilliant talent that has inspired a generation of writers.

Mary Robison is known for her four collections of short stories:  Days (Knopf, 1979), An Amateur’s Guide to the Night (Knopf, 1983), Believe Them (Knopf, 1988), and Tell Me: 30 Stories (Counterpoint, 2002).  Her biting depictions of contemporary American life were first unleashed on the literary world in 1977 when The New Yorker published her short story “Sisters.”  Her writing is often called “minimalist” and is considered in the same vein as Raymond Carver, Ann Beattie and Frederick Barthelme.  Richard Yates, in a review of Days, said of her stories: “Every phrase is lucid, every character comes alive and every scene suggests a calm, wise, heartbroken vision of the world. Robison writes like an avenging angel…”

Mary Robison is the author of four novels including Why Did I Ever (Counterpoint, 2001), which won the Los Angeles Times Book prize for Fiction and One D.O.A., One on the Way (Counterpoint, 2009), chosen by The New York Times Book Review as one of the “100 Most Notable Books of the Year” and by Oprah Winfrey for her Summer Reading list in 2009.

Mary Robison has received numerous awards and Fellowships including a grant from the Guggenheim Foundation.  She spent time as a screenwriter and script doctor for various studios and with independent filmmakers.  Robison’s stories have appeared in numerous anthologies including The Pushcart Prize and The O.Henry Prize Stories. Her stories have been published in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, Esquire, GQ, and Harvard Magazine.  Robison has taught at Harvard University, Ohio University, Oberlin College, Bennington College, University of California Irvine, University of Houston and the University of Mississippi. She is currently a tenured professor at the University of Florida.

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.

1993 Winner
Grace Paley

1993 Rea Award Winner Grace Paley
Photo: Karl Bissinger

Stuart Dybek
Deborah Eisenberg
Jack Miles

Press Release

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

Jurors for the 1993 Rea Award for the Short Story were two short story writers, Stuart Dybek and Deborah Eisenberg, and Jack Miles, a member of the Los Angeles Times editorial board and director of the Los Angeles Times Book prizes, chair of the jury for the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award and member of the board and past president of the National Book Critics Circle.

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

"Grace Paley is a pure short story writer, a natural to the form in the way that rarely gifted athletes are said to be naturals. Her stylistic contribution is unique; a kinetic rhythm of prose divided into fragments that reassemble into a single voice as unmistakable as any in American fiction. It is a voice that, humorous and wise, tough and compassionate, speaks without compromise for the little disturbances of men and women, and endows them with the stature of a moral vision."

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 award cannot be applied for; the recipient is nominated and selected by a jury.

Grace Paley is the author of three collections of short stories, The Little Disturbances of Man, Enormous Changes at the Last Minute, and Later the Same Day.A lifelong political activist, she has described herself as “a somewhat combative pacifist and cooperative anarchist.”

Born and raised in NewYork’s Bronx, “Grace Paley is to New York what William Faulkner is to Mississippi,” says Vivian Gornick in The Village Voice. “Paley is the ultimate New Yorker. Her pages are alive with the sounds of the savvy, street-smart New Yorker, and every character – regardless of age, sex, or education – knows his lines to perfection. In her extraordinary tone of voice and use of imagery, in the shape and rhythm of her language, is captured whole the incredible combination of shrewdness, naiveté, appetite, and insight that is uniquely New York street life.”

Many of the stories are written from a woman’s point of view and contain autobiographical elements.

Patricia Blake said in Time magazine: “I can’t think of another writer who captures the itch of the city, or the complexities of love between parents and children, or the cutting edge of sexual combat as well as Grace Paley does. ”Walter Clemons said in Newsweek: “Grace Paley is one of the best writers alive.”

1994 Winner
Tillie Olsen

1994 Rea Award Winner Tillie Olsen
Photo: Bob Mclead

Charles Baxter
Susan Cheever
Mary Gordon

Press Release

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

Jurors for the 1994 Rea Award for the Short Story were authors Charles Baxter, Susan Cheever and Mary Gordon.

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

“With her collection, Tell Me A Riddle, Tillie Olsen radically widened the possibilities for American writers of fiction. These stories have the lyric intensity of an Emily Dickinson poem and scope of a Balzac novel. She had forced open the language of the short story, insisting that it include the domestic life of women, the passions and anguishes of maternity, the deep, gnarled roots of a long marriage, the hopes and frustrations of immigration, the shining charge of political commitment. Her voice has both challenged and cleared the way for all those who come after her.”

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 award cannot be applied for; the recipient is nominated and selected by a jury.

The conflict between the demands of daily existence and the fulfillment of human potential is a theme which permeates Tillie Olsen’s work. For twenty years, she was “silenced” as a writer while working to earn a living and singlehandedly raising four daughters. “These are not natural silences, that necessary time for renewal,” she says. “They are the unnatural thwarting of what struggles to come into being but cannot.”

Tillie Olsen is the author of short story collection Tell Me A Riddle, the novel, Yonnondio: From the Thirties the novella Requa – I, and a book of essays, Silences. She is the editor of Mothers and Daughters: That Special Quality – An Exploration in Photographs and Mother to Daughter, Daughter to Mother: A Daybook and Reader.

Tillie Olsen was fifty years old when her first book, the short stories collected in Tell Me A Riddle, was published in 1962.The title story won the O’Henry Award and the collection has been anthologized 72 times. The four stories in this volume have been performed on numerous college campuses and in stage productions, and adapted into three films and an opera. Tell Me A Riddle will be re-issued by Dell in the fall of 1994, with an introduction by John Leonard. About his sense of discovery on first reading Tell Me A Riddle, he recalls: “A 50-year-old woman, having reared four children and worked at a series of humdrum and numbing mechanical tasks to thwart the wolf, was revealed to be a short story writer of genius.”