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.