1990 Winner
Joyce Carol Oates

1990 Rea Award Winner Joyce Carol Oates

Frank Conroy
Daniel Halpern
Tobias Wolff

Press Release

The $25,000 Rea Award for the Short Story has been awarded to JOYCE CAROL OATES.

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.

“Her many and versatile literary accomplishments notwithstanding, the winning of this award puts Joyce Carol Oates solidly in the camp of premier short fiction writers,” says Michael Rea, president of the Dungannon Foundation. 

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

Jurors for the 1990 Rea Award for the Short Story were Frank Conroy, Director of the Writers’ Workshop at the University of Iowa, Daniel Halpern, editor of Antaeus and The Ecco Press and Tobias Wolff, writer-in-residence at Syracuse University.

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

“One of the magical things about Joyce Carol Oates is her ability to constantly reinvent not only the psychological space she inhabits, but herself as well, as part of her fiction. She can operate, as a writer, out of a combination of bewilderment and immediate, intuitive understanding –turning to fiction what impinges on her life, wherever she chooses to live it.”

Joyce Carol Oates is one of today’s most prolific writers. She is the author of twenty novels and many volumes of short stories, poems and, essays, as well as plays. Her short stories have been included in the O. Henry Prize collections. She has received awards from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Institute of Arts and Letters and the 1970 National Book Award. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

“All of my writing,” Joyce Carol Oates once remarked, “is about the mystery of human emotions.” This is reflected in her short stories. Love and death are the central themes of the stories in A Sentimental Education. The twisted psyche provides the thread of the stories in Last Days. In Raven’s Wing the stories deal with human evil.

John Updike comments about Joyce Carol Oates will sum up her achievements as a writer: “If the phrase ‘woman of letters’ existed, she would be, foremost in this country, entitled to it.”

2003 Winner
Antonya Nelson

2003 Rea Award Winner Antonya Nelson
Photo: Marion Ettlinger

Andrea Barrett
Percival Everett
Sue Miller

Press Release

The annual $30,000 Rea Award for the Short Story is awarded to ANTONYA NELSON.

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. It was Michaels Rea’s desire to encourage writers to maintain loyalty to the art of short fiction and to ennoble the form. The only award in the U.S. exclusively for the short story, the Rea Award, is given not for one specific work, but rather for literary power, originality and influence on the genre. Six writers are nominated by three jurors; the jurors then meet and decide the winner.

This year’s jurors are writers Andrea Barrett, Percival Everett and Sue Miller. In selecting this year’s winner the jurors offer the following citation:

In even her earliest short stories, Antonya Nelson’s passionate writing was marked by a clear-eyed, unflinching, and ferocious vision; and over the years her work has grown only stronger and deeper as she focuses in on those aspects of our lives that contain both what is most terrifying and what is most thrilling. The tenderest moments in her stories are laced with an awareness of all that is dark, all that is perverse and unpredictable in human impulse and desire; and in her work’s darkest moments, there is an underlying awareness of what is most comical, what is gorgeously written, always surprising, her stories startle us into new ways of thinking about her characters’ lives and our own.

Antonya Nelson is the author of four highly acclaimed short story collections: Female Trouble, The Expendables, In the Land of Men, and Family Terrorists. She is also the author of three novels. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, Esquire, TriQuarterly, Story and Redbook, among other magazines, as well as in anthologies such as Prize Stories, the O. Henry Awards, and Best American Short Stories. The Expendables won the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction in 1990 and Talking in Bed received the 1996 Heartland Award in fiction. Her books have been New York Times Notable Books of 1992, 1996, 1998, 2000, and 2002, and she was recently named by The New Yorker as one of the “twenty young fiction writers for the new millennium.”

Antonya Nelson is consistently praised for the beauty of her writing and for her exploration of the emotional terrain of women. In a recent interview, The Washington Post Book World called her, “a formidable writer. That is, she’s a woman of piercing intelligence, a first-rate stylist, an explorer of language who questions all its customary uses while fashioning evocative descriptions and incisive phrases.”

2001 Winner
Alice Munro

2001 Rea Award Winner Alice Munro
Photo: Jerry Bauer

Maureen Howard
James Salter
Edmund White

Press Release

The $30,000 Rea Award for the Short Story is awarded to ALICE MUNRO.

Sponsored annually by the Dungannon Foundation, 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. It was Michael Rea’s desire to encourage writers to maintain loyalty to the art of short fiction and to ennoble the form. The only award in the U. S. exclusively for the short story, it is given not for one specific work, but rather for literary power, originality and influence on the genre. The recipient is nominated and selected by a jury of distinguished writers.

This year’s jurors are writers, Maureen Howard, James Salter, and Edmund White. In selecting this year’s winner, the jurors have issued the following citation about Munro’s work:

For many years the Canadian writer Alice Munro has astonished her readers with stories that are magical and wise. The magic is in her art as a storyteller, in her exquisitely modulated prose — lyrical, exacting, at times comical — which captures the lives of her characters, both women and men, attempting to understand their personal histories in the larger sweep of history. Munro’s configuration of time is Chekovian, supple in its bright flashes of insight, connection; shadowed in its strokes of disappointment, separation and loss. Long honored as a master of short fiction, Munro’s searching narrators often draw the reader to contemplate the devices of storytelling itself, the mysterious ways in which we distort reality, reconfigure the past to avoid or embrace revelation.

Munro’s wisdom lies in her ability to portray the close-up, the self-dramatizing moment or limited vision then draw back for the complex and informing view. As one of her most endearing characters discovers, you can “look up from your life of the moment and feel the world crackling beyond the walls.” In her art of the story, Alice Munro encourages us to reflect, to see our own time and place and perhaps to redeem, if not ourselves, at least our own stories in the larger setting of the world.

Described by The New York Times as “the only living writer in the English language to have made a major career out of short fiction alone,” Munro’s work has been compared to that of Flannery O’Connor, George Eliot, and Anton Chekhov. Her most recent collection, The Love of a Good Woman (1998), was praised by the Times as “standing on the high plateau of achievement” already occupied by her earlier collections: Dance of the Happy Shades, Something I’ve Been Meaning to Tell You, The Beggar Maid, The Moons of Jupiter, The Progress of Love, Friend of my Youth, Open Secrets, and Selected Stories.

During her distinguished career, Alice Munro has been the recipient of many awards and prizes, including three Governor General’s Literary Awards: Canada’s highest; the Lannan Literary Award; the W.H. Smith Award, given to Open Secrets as the best book published in the United Kingdom in 1995; and the 1998 National Book Critics Circle Award for The Love of a Good Woman. Her stories have appeared in The New Yorker, Atlantic Monthly, The Paris Review, and other publications, and her collections have been translated into thirteen languages. Her new book, Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage, a collection of stories, will be published in November 2001.

2004 Winner
Lorrie Moore

2004 Rea Award Winner Lorrie Moore
Photo: Sigrid Estrada

Edwidge Danticat
Adam Haslett
Amy Hempel

Press Release

The annual $30,000 Rea Award for the Short Story is awarded to LORRIE MOORE.

The Rea Award for the Short Story was established in 1986 by the late Michael M. Rea to encourage short story writing by honoring a living American writer who has made a “significant contribution to the short story form.” What sets The Rea Award apart is that it is not given for one collection of stories or for a writer’s body of work, but rather for 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. Each year, three distinguished jurors are appointed and asked to nominate two writers each. The jurors then meet to deliberate and decide the winner. This year’s jurors are writers Edwidge Danticat, Adam Haslett, and Amy Hempel. In selecting the winner, the jurors have written the following citation:

“Over the course of the last two decades Lorrie Moore has earned a place among the finest writers in this country by exploring the lives of modern women and men, many of them in the Midwest, as they confront the often absurd indignities of ordinary life, most particularly the quest for love and companionship. Her short stories have charted this territory with unfailing intelligence, an almost miraculous wit, and remarkable depth of feeling. Her prose is at once supple and sharp, hilarious and heartrending, and it has come to constitute an unmistakable prose style all her own. Like all great writers, she has managed to bring the pathos of her characters down into the very grammar of her sentences, and as a result her mature work has a generous, open, pellucid quality and a wonderful unexpectedness. It is the work of a writer who has mastered her art. Lorrie Moore’s stories are gifts, for her hard won, no doubt, but for her readers, pure pleasure.”

Lorrie Moore’s first collection of short stories, Self Help, was published in 1985, producing reviews comparing her to everyone from Grace Paley to Woody Allen. Subsequent collections include Like Life and Birds of America which The New York Times Book Review cited as “one of our funniest, most telling anatomies of human love and vulnerability.” She is also the author of several novels, and has edited I Know Some Things: Contemporary Stories About Children Viewing The World and The Best American Short Stories 2004.

Lorrie Moore has been the recipient of a Lannan Foundation Fellowship, The National Endowment of the Arts Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, The Irish Times International Prize for Fiction and a Literature Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Her stories and reviews have appeared in The New Yorker and The New York Review of Books, as well as other periodicals, and regularly appear in annuals such as The O’Henry Awards and The Best American Short Stories. One of her short stories, “You’re Ugly Too,” was chosen for The Best American Short Stories of the Century, edited by John Updike. She is currently Delmore Schwartz Professor in the Humanities at the University of Wisconsin.

2008 Winner
Amy Hempel

2008 Rea Award Winner Amy Hempel
Photo: Marion Ettlinger

Sheila Kohler
Margot Livesey
Jim Shepard

Press Release

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

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 notgiven 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 Ms. Rea who each nominate two writers qualified to win the Award.These three jurors spend the summer reading short stories by the six nominees and meet in early Fall to determine the winner.This year’s jurors were Sheila Kohler, Margot Livesey and Jim Shepard. They have written the following citation:

Amy Hempel is one of our masters of the dire emotional state rendered with an off-handedness that, combined with tenderness,results in fiction that’s at once dispassionate and compassionate.She has been called many things:our Chekhov,our Kleist,but surely,she is above all her own creation,a courageous writer whose wit and concentrated sentences capture our contemporary vulnerability,the fleeting moments of our joy and sorrow,our attempts to find reasons to live.

Amy Hempel established her reputation in the vanguard of American short story writers with the publication of her first book of short stories, Reasons to Live (Knopf, 1985).This book, along with her three succeeding collections, At The Gates of The Animal Kingdom (Knopf ,1990), Tumble Home (Scribner, 1997) and The Dog of the Marriage (Scribner, 2005) were gathered in a single volume, The Collected Stories of Amy Hempel (Scribner, 2006). It was named one of the Ten Best Books of the Year by The New York Times, was a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award, won an award from The American Academy of Arts and Letters, and in addition was singled out by Newsweek, The Boston Globe, The San Francisco Chronicle and Time Out New York.

Amy Hempel has received a Guggenheim Fellowship and an inaugural fellowship from The United States Artists Foundation as well as the Mary Frances Hobson Medal and a Silver Medal from the Commonwealth Club of California. Her stories have been anthologized in The Best American Short Stories and The Pushcart Prize, among others. She is currently Director of the Graduate Writing Program at Brooklyn College.

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.

2002 Winner
Mavis Gallant

2002 Rea Award Winner Mavis Gallant
Photo: Miriam Berkley

Richard Bausch
Ethan Canin
Mary Morris

Press Release

The annual $30,000 Rea Award for the Short Story is awarded to MAVIS GALLANT.

The only award in the U.S. exclusively for the short story, the Rea Award is given not for one specific work, but rather for literary power, originality and influence on the genre. Writers are nominated confidentially and the winner selected by a jury.

This year’s jurors are writers Deborah Eisenberg, Alice Munro and Joy Williams. In selecting this year’s winner the jurors offer the following citation about Gallant’s work:

Mavis Gallant has shown us over and over again what a marvel a short story can be. You can start to read any one of her stories (it does not matter if it is one you have read ten times before) and you are at once swept away — captivated, amazed, moved — by the grace of her sentences, the ease of her wit, the suppleness of her narrative, the complexity and originality of her perfectly convincing characters. She is a fearless writer, apparently equal to representing on paper any aspect of mind or time, however subtle, intractable, or evanescent. And the great gift bestowed is that such skills seem less like skill than like magic — it never makes you stop to admire it, but simply allows you to be carried into the depths of the story, and granted the piercing, powerful, live pleasure, the thrill of capture, which is what we are always hoping for when we take up a work of fiction.

Described by The New York Times as having “radically reshaped the short story decade after decade,” Gallant has contributed to the short story genre for over half a century. “Her characters do not flee from home; they start out homeless, spending their lives conniving at accommodation with a century that started in horror and is ending in hollowness…Gallant primes us to expect them to be good or bad, but never hints which are which; and in her stories tragedy can turn to comedy in a sentence…In a real sense her style and attitude are her message.”

Mavis Gallant is the author of more than 100 short stories, most of which first appeared in The New Yorker, where she continues to publish. Her stories are collected, along with several novellas in: The Other Paris (1956), My Heart is Broken (1964), The Pegnitz Junction (1973), The End of the World and Other Stories (1974) and From the Fifteenth District: A Novella and Eight Stories (1979), Home Truths: Selected Canadian Stories (1981), Overhead in a Balloon: Stories of Paris (1985), In Transit (1988), and The Collected Stories of Mavis Gallant (1996). She is also the author of two novels, Green Water, Green Sky (1969) and A Fairly Good Time (1970), a play What is to be done? 1984, and a nonfiction work, Paris Journals: Selected Essays and Reviews (1986).

During her distinguished career, Mavis Gallant has been made a Companion of the Order of Canada for her contribution to literature, and has been the recipient of the Canadian Governor’s General Award for literature for her collection of stories, Home Truths.

The Rea Award for the Short Story, established in 1986 by the late Michael M. Rea to honor a living United States or Canadian writer who had made a significant contribution to the short story form. It was Michael’s desire to encourage writers to maintain loyalty to the art of short fiction and to ennoble the form.

1995 Winner
Richard Ford

1995 Rea Award Winner Richard Ford
Photo: John Foley

Richard Bausch
Ethan Canin
Mary Morris

Press Release

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

Jurors for the 1995 Rea Award for the Short Story were the writers Richard Bausch, Ethan Canin and Mary Morris.

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

"Richard Ford’s power lies in the deceiving simplicity of his language, in the complexity of the emotions he explores, and in the extraordinary tenderness with which most of the people in his stories go about the solitary business of loving, and seeking love. His stories are exemplars of the form. For their clarity, for their unfailing grace, their intellectual beauty, they deserve to be celebrated."

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. 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.

Richard Ford is the author of one short story collection, Rock Springs, published in 1987 by the Atlantic Monthly Press. The stories are set in Montana and Wyoming and mostly told in the first person. The characters are people who are uprooted and adrift, with no permanent ties to a place or each other. In the title story, Edna, a divorcee, decides to go on the lam with her new boyfriend, who has stolen a Mercedes. Their relationship reflects the tenuous ties between the men and women in Rock Springs. As the narrator puts it: “I don’t know what was between Edna and me, just beached by the same tides when you got down to it. Though love has been built on frailer ground than that.”

Richard Ford is the author of four novels, A Piece of My Heart, The Ultimate Good Luck, The Sportswriter and Wildlife. A new novel, Independence Day, will be published by Knopf in June 1995. He is the editor of The Granta Book of the American Short Story. His short stories have appeared in Esquire, The New Yorker, Vanity Fair and Granta.

Transience, a major theme in Richard Ford’s fiction, reflects his own need for change. “Moving. I’ve done it a lot. Twenty times, probably, in twenty years,” said Richard Ford in a Harper’s magazine article, “I must be going.” “Longing’s at the heart of it, I guess. Longing that overtakes me like a fast car on the freeway and makes me willing to withstand a feeling of personal temporariness.”

“There is a strange, two-way mirror in America, Richard Ford reminds us,” says Carolyn See about Rock Springs in the Los Angeles Times. “On our side, we see only ourselves. Over on ‘their’ side they wonder how they got there and long for ‘just a normal life like other people had’…these stories are exquisitely written. “About Rock Springs Michiko Kakutani said in the New York Times: “Stunning…this volume should confirm Ford’s emergence as one of the most compelling and eloquent storytellers of his generation.”

2007 Winner
Stuart Dybek

2007 Rea Award Winner Stuart Dybek

Andre Dubus III
Rick Moody
Roxana Robinson

Press Release

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

Sponsored by the Dungannon Foundation, The Rea Award for the Short Story was established in 1986 by the late Michael M. Rea to encourage short story writing by honoring a living American or Canadian writer who has made a “significant contribution to the short story form”. The Rea Award is not given for lifetime achievement, one collection of stories or for a writer’s body of work but rather for 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.”

In April 2007, The Rea Award celebrated its twentieth Anniversary with an evening of readings and remarks by previous winners at Symphony Space in New York City. Participants included Ann Beattie, Deborah Eisenberg, Richard Ford, Joyce Carol Oates, Cynthia Ozick, Grace Paley, John Updike, John Edgar Wideman, Joy Williams and Tobias Wolff. In the words of Cynthia Ozick, “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. But it is as large as Michael Rea’s heart, and no recipient of the Rea Award has ever encountered anything larger, or more capaciously literary, than that.”

This year’s jurors, selected because of their own important contributions to the short story form, are writers Andre Dubus III, Rick Moody and Roxana Robinson. The jurors have written the following citation:

With three distinguished collections of short stories, Stuart Dybek has created his own country.The coast of Chicago is his landscape, one he has inhabited, pondered, remembered and made hauntingly real. Dybek’s fictional Chicago, set in the poor parts of the city during the 1950’s, is full of immigrants. Most of these are eastern Europeans, hurled by the explosion of World War II into a harsh and unforgiving vision of the promised land.This is a world informed by the constant grieving memory of the Old World and bythe monstrous, beating presence of the New. Dybek’s rendering of this place is tender and unapologetic, without judgment or blame. He explores his people’s lives from within, tracing their threatened sense of identity, the desperation of their survival strategies, the terrifying nearness of madness and despair,the saving presence of humour and the luminous presence of love. This is a vital landscape: industrial decay, rust and crime, dark alleys and abandoned warehouses are seen, not as evidence of despair, but as the grand background for real life, which is lived out the way real life is lived out everywhere – in the small intimate spaces between people, during the moments that touch the beating heart. Stuart Dybek, with his vigorous prose, restless intelligence and boundless compassion, has offered us his world, and a piece of our cultural history. Like the great Isaac Babel, Dybek has rescued this world from oblivion. In doing so he has enriched our souls.

Stuart Dybek has published three short story collections Childhood and Other Neighborhoods, The Coast of Chicago and I Sailed With Magellan, and two volumes of poetry Brass Knuckles and Streets in their Own Ink. His work is frequently anthologized and regularly appears in magazines such as The New Yorker,The Atlantic, Harper’s, DoubleTake, Ploughshares and The Paris Review.

Stuart Dybek’s many honors include the PEN/Bernard Malamud Prize, a Lannan Award, the Academy Institute Award in Fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Guggenheim Fellowship, two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, a residency at the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center, a Whiting Writer’s Award and four O’Henry Prizes.

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.

1996 Winner
Andre Dubus

1996 Rea Award Winner Andre Dubus
Photo: Marion Ettlinger

George Garrett
Barry Hannah
Jayne Anne Phillips

Press Release

The $30,000 Rea Award for the Short Story has been awarded to ANDRE DUBUS.

Jurors for the 1996 Rea Award for the Short Story were the writers George Garrett, Barry Hannah and Jayne Anne Phillips.

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

“We vote the award for short story to Andre Dubus for his conspicuous and enduring chronicles of the American soul. His prose is muscular and trustworthy and, under his hand the form of the story thrives with basic life.”

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. 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.

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 a new collection, Dancing After Hours.

Dancing After Hours, published in early 1996, appeared almost a decade after his previous collection, Selected Stories. The long silence was due to an accident which left Andre Dubus bound to a wheelchair. Stopping to help a motorist in trouble on his way home one night, he was struck by a car, shattering both of his legs. His belief in living life to the fullest is reflected in the title story of Dancing After Hours. One night in a bar, a quadriplegic tells about his decision to go skydiving. His risk-taking influences a young woman, who has led a self-imposed lonely life, to open herself up to people and new experiences.

Human relationships and how they play out in daily life are depicted with rare authenticity in Andre Dubus’ stories. “What he gives us is an unastonished account of his characters’ puzzlements and desires, and those small moments in which momentous movements of the heart happen,” said Eva Hoffman in her New York Times review of Selected Stories. “If you’re willing to listen to the nuances of his music, you’ll find that, in his own register, he has near perfect pitch that can transfigure the commonplace.”

About Dancing After Hours, Paul Gray said in Time: “Dubus is an artist who manages to produce work at once harrowing and exhilarating.” Richard Bausch said in his New York Times review: “In demonstrating, once again, why he is celebrated as a writer of short fiction, he also shows why the form itself is so persistent. For the fact is that there are matters of the spirit the short story addresses better than any other literary art.” Elmore Leonard said about Dubus’ work: “You’ll recognize Andre’s people: you might very well be one of them.”

1987 Winner
Robert Coover

1987 Rea Award Winner Robert Coove
Photo: Jack Spratt

Benjamin DeMott
Stanley Elkin
Shannon Ravenel

Press Release

The 1987 Rea Award for the Short Story has been awarded to ROBERT COOVER.

The $25,000 Rea Award for the Short Story was established in 1986, to annually honor a writer who has made a significant contribution to the short story as an art form.

Jurors for the 1987 Rea Award for the Short Story were Benjamin DeMott, Stanley Elkin and Shannon Ravenel.

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

For taking the dross of the ordinary and spinning it into the treasure of Myth, the 1987 Rea Award for the Short Story goes to Robert Coover, a writer who has managed, willfully and even perversely, to remain his own man while offering his generous vision and versions of America.

The Rea Award for the Short Story is given annually by the Dungannon Foundation to a living U.S. writer. The winner of the 1986 award was Cynthia Ozick.

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

“To honor a writer who brings new dimensions to the short story is our goal – whether this is an established literary figure or an unknown,” says Michael Rea, President of the Dungannon Foundation. Mr. Rea is a book and art collector and lives in New York.

Coover, by mixing reality with illusion, creates another, alternative world. “Amazing,” “fantastic,” and “magic” are among the words used to describe the effects of Coover’s fiction.

“Experimentalist” is a term often applied to Coover by critics. About this, he commented in a “Publishers Weekly” interview:  “Most of what we call experimental actually has been precisely traditional in the sense that it’s gone back to old form to find its new form – to folk tale, to the pre-Cervantian, pre-novelistic narrative possibilities.”

Mythology and the fairy tale have always attracted Coover and are elements of his widely praised first collection of short stories, Pricksongs and Descants.

 A Night at the Movies, Coover’s recently published short-story collection, re-conjures and re-examines some of our favorite myths, movies and movie stars, themselves now mythic figures. About this book, and Coover as a writer, the New York Times Book Review said: “Coover is a one-man Big Bang of creative force.”