Amy Hempel named winner of short story award

October 7, 2008 11:53:29 AM PDT
Author Amy Hempel, whose candid takes on modern life have brought her a small, but devoted following, has been named this year's winner of the Rea Award for the Short Story, a $30,000 prize that in previous years has been given to Paul Bowles, Eudora Welty and Grace Paley.

"Amy Hempel is one of our masters of the dire emotional state rendered with an offhandedness that, combined with tenderness, results in fiction that's at once dispassionate and compassionate," the Rea judges said Tuesday in a statement.

A native of Chicago who now lives in New York, the 56-year-old Hempel has published such acclaimed collections as "Reasons to Live" and "The Dog of the Marriage."

The Rea award was established in 1986 by Michael M. Rea, a publisher and collector of first-edition short stories who died in 1996.