Canadian wins Nobel prize
Oct 10, 2013 / 6:28 am
Alice Munro, a Canadian master of the short story revered as a thorough, but forgiving chronicler of the human spirit, won the Nobel Prize in literature on Thursday.
Munro is the first Canadian writer to receive the prestigious $1.2 million award from the Swedish Academy since Saul Bellow, who left for the U.S. as a boy and won in 1976.
Seen as a contemporary Chekhov for her warmth, insight and compassion, she has captured a wide range of lives and personalities without passing judgment on her characters. Unusually for Nobel winners, Munro's work consists almost entirely of short stories. "Lives of Girls and Women" is her only novel.
"I knew I was in the running, yes, but I never thought I would win," the 82-year-old said by telephone when contacted by The Canadian Press in Victoria, British Columbia.
Munro is beloved among her peers, from Lorrie Moore and George Saunders to Margaret Atwood and Jonathan Franzen. She is equally admired by critics. She won a National Book Critics Circle prize for "Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage," and is a three-time winner of the Governor General's prize, Canada's highest literary honour.
Atwood — a fellow Canadian who also figured prominently in the Nobel buzz — tweeted, "Hooray! Alice Munro wins 2013 Nobel Prize in Literature."
Munro's publisher, Penguin Random House, welcomed the award with "jubilation and great pride," and sent "joyous good wishes to our beloved author and to our family of her publishers and editors." Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper congratulated Munro on Twitter "on behalf of all Canadians."
The award is likely to be the capstone to Munro's career. She told Canada's National Post in June that she was "probably not going to write anymore."
In announcing the Nobel Prize, the Swedish Academy called her a "master of the contemporary short story." The academy's permanent secretary, Peter Englund, said he had not managed to get hold of her but left a message on her answering machine.
"She has taken an art form, the short story, which has tended to come a little bit in the shadow behind the novel, and she has cultivated it almost to perfection," Englund told The Associated Press
Munro is the 13th female literature laureate in the 112-year history of the Nobel Prizes.
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