Robert Coover

1987 Rea Award Winner Robert Coove
Photo: Jack Spratt

Robert Coover was born in Charles City, Iowa. He attended Southern Illinois University, Indiana University and the University of Chicago. He has taught at several universities and currently teaches electronic and experimental writing at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island.

Coover has written novels, plays, essays and film scripts as well as short stories.  His short story collections include A Night at the Movies, 1987, and Pricksongs and Descants 1969. Several of his stories have been adapted into plays and films, including The Babysitter and Spanking the Maid.

His awards include the William Faulkner Award, Best First Novel, 1966 The Origin of the Brunists, fellowships from the Rockefeller Foundation, the Guggenheim Foundation and the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He was given three Obie awards for the American Place Theater production of The Kid (1972-73), and a National Book Award Nomination for The Public Burning.

By mixing reality with illusion, Coover creates another, alternative world. “Amazing,” “fantastic,” and magic” are among the adjectives used to describe his work.  “Experimentalist” is a term often applied to his writing by critics. In an interview in Publisher’s Weekly, he commented, “Most of what we call experimental actually has been precisely traditional in the sense that it’s gone back to old forms to find its new form – to folk tale, to pre-Cervantian, pre-novelistic narrative possibilities.”

Biographical information prepared the year of the award.