Interview with Nobel Announced (profile)

Alice Munro wins the 2013 Nobel Prize in Literature. By Danielle Magee

Canadian author Alice Munro, was awarded the 2013 Nobel Prize In Literature on Thursday, October 10. Munro is best known for her short stories, which include The View from Castle Rock (2008), Runaway (2004), and her most recent collection Dear Life (2012).

The prize, awarded by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Stockholm, acclaimed her as a “master of the contemporary story.” The Nobel Prize in Literature has been awarded annually to an author from any country who has, in the words of the will of Alfred Nobel, produced “in the field of literature the most outstanding work in an ideal direction.” As a winner, Munro earns a gold medal, a diploma bearing a citation, and 8 million kronor ($1.2 million in US dollars).

Last year, Mo Yan won the Nobel Prize in Literature “who with hallucinatory realism merges folk tales, history, and the contemporary.”

Munro, 82, was born in Wingham, Ontario. She studied journalism and English at the University of Western Ontario, but decided to leave her studies behind when she got married in 1951. In 1963, the couple moved to Victoria, British Columbia, where they opened Munro’s Books, which still operates. Munro is the 13th woman to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature and the first Canadian-based writer. Saul Bellow, who won it in 1976, was born in Quebec but moved to the United States as a child and is regarded as a U.S. author.

Starting with her first collection of stories, Dance of the Happy Shades (1968), Munro is a three-time winner of the Governor Generals Award, Canada’s highest literary prize. In addition, she also won a National Book Critics Circle prize for Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage (2001).

Munro’s work has long been compared to Chekhov’s. The Nobel committee noted, "some critics consider Munro a Canadian Chekhov."

Munro is commended for her “finely tuned storytelling,” which is characterized by “clarity and psychological realism.”  According to the NY Times, she revolutionized the style of short stories, often starting a story in an unexpected rural town then moving the story from past to present or future.

Earlier this year, she told The National Post in Canada that she was finished writing. The Canadian Broadcasting Corp. asked Munro if winning the Nobel would change her plans. She said, "I don't think so, no. I am getting old." 

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