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MAVIS GALLANT IS WINNER OF THE 2002 REA AWARD FOR THE SHORT STORY


Maria GallantThe annual $30,000 Rea Award for the Short Story is awarded to Mavis Gallant.

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.

In 1944, 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 another
recent interview, she noted, "I came back regularly to Montreal, except in the period of 1950 to 1955, when I didn't have any money."

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:

Read a
Short Story

Read a Short Story
"
Ranch Girl "
from
Half in Love
by Maile Meloy


"UFO in Kushiro"
from
After the Quake
by Haruki Murakami

"Notes to My Biographer"
from
You Are Not a
Stranger Here

by Adam Haslett

The Title Story
from
I, Rhoda Manning Go Hunting with My Daddy
by Ellen Gilchrist

The Title Story
from
Simple Recipes
by Madeleine Thien

"The Steviewondermobile"
from
The Portable
Promised Land

by Touré

The Title Story
from
The Whore's Child and Other Stories
by Richard Russo

The title story from
Simple Recipes
by Madeleine Thien

"An Open Letter to Thomas Wolfe"
from
Voices on the Stair
by Elizabeth Routen

The title story from
The Varieties of Romantic Experience: An Introduction
by Robert Cohen

"Officer Bill"
from

The Empty Cafe
by Michael Hoffman

The title story from
Hotel of the Saints
by Ursula Hegi

"Noa and Noah"
from

Foreign Brides
by Elana Lappin

 

 

  • The Other Paris (1956)
  • My Heart is Broken (1964)
  • The Pegnitz Junction (1973)
  • The End of the World and Other Stories (1974)
  • From the Fifteenth District: A Novella and Eight Stories (1979)
  • Home Truths: Selected Canadian Stories (1981)
  • Overhead in a Balloon: Stories of Paris (1985)
  • In Transit (1988)
  • Across the Bridge: Stories (1992)
  • The Moslem Wife and Other Stories (1996)
  • The Collected Stories of Mavis Gallant (1996)

She is also the author of two novels:

  • Green Water, Green Sky (1969)
  • A Fairly Good Time (1970)

And a play:

  • What is to be done? (1984)

and a non-fiction work:

  • Paris Journals: Selected Essays and Reviews (1986)

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).

The Rea Award
The Rea Award for the Short Story was established in 1986 by the late Michael M. Rea to honor a living United States or Canadian writer who has made a significant contribution to the short story form. It was Michael Rea's desire to encourage writers to maintain loyalty to the art of short fiction and to ennoble the form.

Previous winners of the Rea Award for the Short Story are:

Cynthia Ozick (1986)
Robert Coover (1987)
Donald Barthelme (1988)
Tobias Wolff (1989)
Joyce Carol Oates (1990)
Paul Bowles (1991)
Eudora Welty (1992)
Grace Paley (1993)
Tillie Olsen (1994)
Richard Ford (1995)
Andre Dubus (1996)
Gina Berriault (1997)
John Edgar Wideman (1998)
Joy Williams (1999)
Deborah Eisenberg (2000)
Alice Munro (2001)

In addition to the Rea Award for the Short Story, the Dungannon Foundation
also sponsors Rea Visiting Writers/Lecturers at the University of Virginia
and Selected Shorts at Symphony Space in New York City.


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