Books

Williams College professor wins $30,000 short-story prize

Jim Shepard
Barry Goldstein
Jim Shepard

Williams College professor Jim Shepard has won the $30,000 Rea Award, given annually to a writer who has made a significant contribution to the short story as art form.

“His prodigious research combined with a kind of X-ray vision of the soul produces stories that we learn from, that improve us, that expand our sense of what a life can be,” said Deborah Eisenberg, Amy Hempel, and Joy Williams, this year’s judges and all former Rea recipients, in a statement. His “matchless stories . . . glorify the commonplace and understate the extraordinary.”

Shepard has written five story collections and seven novels, his most recent work being “The World to Come,” a collection of globetrotting tales that touches on everything from the Franklin expedition to French balloonists testing manned flight. He previously won the Story Prize in 2007 for his collection “Like You’d Understand, Anyway.”

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Besides this year’s judges, other past winners include Joyce Carol Oates, John Updike, and Richard Ford.

Alex Frandsen can be reached at alexander.frandsen@globe.com.