May 3, 2016
Warren Wilson writer wins $30,000 short story award
By Dale Neal
ASHEVILLE – Andrea Barrett, an Award winning writer who teaches in the Warren Wilson College MFA Program for Writers, has been named the winner of The Rea Award for the Short Story, which carries a $30,000 prize.
Barrett is the author of three short Story collections and six novels. Her story collection, Ship Fever, was the winner of the 1996 National Book Award, while Servants of the Map was a finalist for the 2003 Pulitzer Prize.
Barrett has won fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation. In 2001, she was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship commonly known as a genius grant.
Barrett has become known for intertwining her characters and their family histories through her books. “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, combing 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.”
The Rea prize is given annually since 1986 to salute leading writers of the short story. The prize is named after Michael Rea who established the Dungannon Foundation, named for his paternal hometown in northern Ireland.
Barrett is the fourth winner of the Rea Award, who have taught in the Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers. Charles Baxter, Antonya Nelson and Stuart Dybek have also been on the faculty. Tobias Wolff taught in the program when it was located at Goddard College in Vermont, prior to moving to Warren Wilson College.
Barrett is among a slew of MacArthur Fellows or genius grant winners at Warren Wilson, including the program founder Ellen Bryant Voigt, Heather McHugh and Eleanor Wilner.
“We’ve drawn a lot of accolades in recent years, but that’s not what this program is about. We are more focused on the love of the work itself and attracting the best in students and faculty,” said Debra Allbery, the current director of the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson.
May 3, 2016
Andrea Barrett wins Rea Award for short story
Washington, Conn.-based award celebrates the genre
By Tracey O’Shaughnessy
Andrea Barrett’s “very quiet” writing approach to her short stories has won her the 2015 $30,000 annual Rea Award for the Short Story.
The Washington, Conn.-based award honors a writer who has made a significant contribution to the discipline of the short story as an art form.
The award was established by Michael Rea in 1986 to encourage the writing of short fiction. It is now administered by his widow, Elizabeth Rea, who continues to live in Washington.
“He liked the form because you could read the story in one sitting,” Elizabeth Rea said. “It was appealing to him to not have to keep going back to a long novel. He liked the brevity.
“He didn’t want novels to take over,” she added. “Publishers often push novels because they can sell them. But short stories are definitely coming back.”
Barrett, of North Adams, Mass., is the author of three short story collections and six novels.
Her story collections include Ship Fever, winner of the 1996 National Book Award; Servants of the Map, a finalist for the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction; and most recently Archangel, a finalist for “The Story Prize.”
Barrett was born in Boston in 1954, grew up on Cape Cod, and graduated with a degree in biology. She is particularly well known as a writer of historical fiction.
“Scientific questions are very precise and very directed,” she said in a statement. “A scientist poses problems that can be answered if one works hard enough.”
As in the work of William Faulkner, some of Barrett’s characters have appeared in more than one story or novel.
“I’m trying to make a very quiet point,” she said. “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 . … I want to bring that very lightly to the surface without having it dominate.”
In honoring the author, Rea Award jurors wrote: “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.”
Palm Beach Daily News
May 8, 2016
Andrea Barrett wins Rea Award for the Short Story
By Jan Sjostrom
Andrea Barrett has won the 2015 Rea Award for the Short Story. The $30,000 annual award was established in 1985 by the late resident Michael Rea to recognize a living American or Canadian writer who has made a1significant contribution to the short Story as an art form.
The award, which is sponsored by the Dungannon Foundation, now is overseen by Rea’s widow, Elizabeth, a seasonal resident. Once a biology student, Barrett weaves science through her writing, which includes three collections of short stories and six novels. Her story collection Ship Fever won the 1996 National Book Award and her 2002 collection Servants of the Map was a finalist for the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for fiction.
In their citation, Rea Award jurors T.C. Boyle, Bill Henderson and Karen Shepard said “in settings ranging all over the globe and from all different time periods, she specializes in examining what is particularly human in the science we do, bringing those traditionally disparate worlds to bear on each other in surprising and moving ways.”