Andrea Barrett is the winner of the 2015 Rea Award for the Short Story. The annual $30,000 Rea Award recognizes a living U. S. or Canadian writer. Rea established the award to honor a writer who has made a significant contribution to the discipline of the short story as an art form.
This year’s jurors, noted writers T. C. Boyle, Bill Henderson and Karen Shepard, offered the following citation:
In three collections of stories and six novels, Andrea 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. Barrett offers us the news from other worlds as a way to understand our own. In settings ranging all over the globe and from all different time periods, she specializes in examining what’s particularly human in the science we do, bringing those traditionally disparate worlds to bear on each other in surprising and moving ways. And she accomplishes those broad thematic implications with a precise and quietly intelligent style that surprises and disturbs and gratifies. That deceptive formal modesty keeps our focus on the world at the fiction’s heart and produces testimonies designed to celebrate the attested rather than the attester. The result has been a body of stories that like all great fiction expands our knowledge, brings us more fully into contact with the suffering of others, and supplies intense and gorgeous pleasure.