Elizabeth Spencer, whose body of work includes “The Light in the Piazza” (1960), has been awarded the 2013 Rea Award for short fiction.
Called “our little Nobel” by the award’s first winner, Cynthia Ozick, who won in 1986, the $30,000 Rea prize recognizes “significant contributions” to the short story form and is given annually to a living American or Canadian writer.
Ms. Spencer, 92, a Mississippi native, is the author of nine novels and eight short story collections, including “Starting Over,” which was published earlier this year.
“The Light in the Piazza” was made into a 1962 film starting Olivia de Havilland and George Hamilton, and, in 2005, a Tony-winning Broadway musical, by Adam Guettel and Craig Lucas.
Ms. Spencer’s writing, which Rea jurors described as “alert to the otherwise unobserved vital nuances of our most secret selves,” has also won her five O. Henry Prizes and induction into the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
Previous Rea prizewinners include Lorrie Moore, Ann Beattie and Eudora Welty.
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