MAVIS GALLANT IS WINNER OF THE 2002 REA AWARD FOR THE SHORT STORY
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 is 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 skill seems 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, an only child, was born in Montreal in August 1922. Her father died when she was young, her mother remarried and Gallant was, in her own words, "set afloat," attending a series of 17 public, convent, and boarding schools.
she became a reporter for the Montreal Standard where she remained for
six years. During that time, at age 20, she married John Gallant, but
they divorced after five years. In 1950, she left her job at the newspaper
to pursue fiction writing. She chose Paris as her home base, but has
always remained a Canadian citizen. "I have arranged matters so
that I would be free to write," she once told an interviewer. In
Gallant achieved her ambition quickly - since 1951, she has published more than 100 stories, most of which first appeared in The New Yorker, where she continues to publish.Her stories are collected, along with several novellas, in:
She is also the author of two novels:
And a play:
and a non-fiction work:
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 General's award for literature for her collection of stories, Home Truths. She is a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. Her more recent Canadian awards include the Molson literary award (1996), the Matt Cohen Award (2001) and a special achievement award from Montreal's Blue Metropolis Literary Festival (2002).
Previous winners of the Rea Award for the Short Story are:
to the Rea Award for the Short Story, the Dungannon Foundation
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