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.”