Alice Munro wins the Nobel Literature Prize. The Academy of Sciences in Sweden announced her name as the recipient of the award in literature. She becomes, as a woman, the thirteenth to receive this prestigious award since the awards started in 1901. The Canadian short story writer will receive $1.25 million in prize money from the Swedish Academy. Alice Munro is the first winner from Canada who has stayed in Canada.
The Prime minister of Canada, Stephen Harper, congratulated her in a tweet, “On behalf of all Canadians, congratulations to Alice Munro.” After being informed by Canadian papers as the Academy had left a phone message, she told them the award “was quite wonderful” and she said she was also “terribly surprised.” She knew she was up for it, she just didn’t think would win. “I am amazed and very grateful. I am particularly glad that winning this award will please so many Canadians. I’m happy that this will bring more attention to Canadian writing,” she said. Secretary Peter Englund commented that she gives “A fantastic portrayal of human beings.”
She has been noted to be a master at short stories in contemporary literature. Some critics liken her work to Chekhov, a Russian and considered to be on of the best writers of all time. The committee further added, “Munro is acclaimed for her finely tuned storytelling, which is characterized by clarity and psychological realism. Her stories are often set in small town environments.” Alice Munro and her win of a Nobel Prize will increase her sales as they will reprint her work.
She has been praised for her style, which is easy to read. She began writing in her teens and studied at the University of Western Ontario, focusing on journalism and English. She ran a bookstore with her husband in Victoria, British Columbia. Then she published in magazines and her first collection of short stories. Her debut collection in 1968 was Death of the Happy Shades, this won her the first of three Canadian awards. She won the Canada’s Governor General’s Award for this fiction. Published in The New Yorker, she has also won a Man Booker International Prize for her body of work. Ms. Munro’s stories are set in her native Ontario; mostly small towns.
She does have plans of retiring. The majority of winners have been European and men since the inception of the prize. The youngest recipient was 42 and this was Rudyard Kipling; the oldest was Doris Lessing at age 88. Alfred Nobel, a Swedish industrialist, created these prizes in 1895 to give honor to physics, chemistry, literature and peace; and the people with works in these fields. Later in 1969 the economics prize was added. People think Winston Churchill won the Nobel Peace Prize but he received the Literature Prize in 1953. This Friday the Nobel Peace Prize will be awarded. In over a hundred years of this prestigious literary award being bestowed upon worthy individuals, Alice Munro became the 13th woman to receive such an honor.
By: Kim Troike