The 2005 Rea Award Jurors Sherman Alexie, Ron Carlson, and Tess Gallagher, offer the following citation in choosing Ann Beattie for the award:
“Ann Beattie is a writer for and of her time. For more than thirty years she has written stories that form a chronicle of American life. Her prose has become known for its vivid particularity, the details of the way we live. But her stories have insisted on their place in American letters because of her ability to imply the way the human heart confronts the confusion of attachment and loss. She approaches the intricacies of contemporary life, layered and frazzled as it is, in such a way that we accompany characters who sometimes find their lives softly caving in or imploding. There is a complexity in her best work that reveals new gradations of the oldest emotions. Rarely neat, her narratives explore the way men and women struggle with new emotional territory, the gray areas of love and vulnerablity. In her prolific investigation of character there is an intelligence and compassion that is ultimately affirming, not because it is hopeful toward any upturn, but because we respect the utter intensity of its seeking to find out what makes us ache and care for the people in the lives next to ours.”
Ann Beattie has received critical acclaim for her depiction of the generation of Americans who grew up in the 1960’s. She has published eight collections of short stories, including Park City, What Was Mine, Where You’ll Find Me, The Burning House and the recently published Follies: New Stories. The Washington Post has called her “one of the era’s most vital masters of the short form.” She is also the author of seven novels, including The Doctor’s House, Another You and Picturing Will.
Ann Beattie’s many honors include the Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and the PEN/Malmud Award for Excellence in Short Fiction. She is a member of The American Academy of Arts and Letters and The American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Her stories have been included in three O.Henry Collections and John Updike’s Best American Short Stories of the Century. Her forthcoming Lincoln Perry’s Charlottesville, is a collaboration with her husband, the painter Lincoln Perry.
Ann Beattie is currently the Edgar Allan Poe Professor of English and Creative Writing at The University of Virginia.