Michael M.Rea, a passionate reader and collector of short stories, founded The Rea Award for the Short Story in 1986 to be given annually to a living American or Canadian writer whose published work has made a “significant contribution in the discipline of the short story as an art form”. The Rea Award is unique in that it is not given for a collection of stories or for a body of work,but rather for originality and influence on the genre. Mr.Rea, who traced his love of the short story back to his Irish roots noted, “The basic thrust of the award is to foster a literary cause, to ennoble the form, to give it prestige”.

The Rea Award for the Short Story is sponsored by the Dungannon Foundation. Each year three jurors are appointed to nominate and select the winner. The jurors are selected based on their knowledge, background, and interest in the genre of the short story. Writers may not apply for the award.