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Canadian short-story writer Alice Munro, 82, has won the 2013 Nobel Prize for Literature. The Swedish Academy cited her as a “master of the contemporary short story.” One of the perennial favorites for the prize, she has gained international renown for a body of work that examines the connections between men and women and small-town life. In the days leading up to the award, she was listed at 4/1 odds to win on the UK betting website Ladbrokes.
After the publication of her fourteenth collection of short stories in July, it was announced that Munro planned to retire. At the time, she stated simply, “I’m probably not going to write anymore,” though in 2006 Munro announced similar plans, only to publish two more original collections and one compilation of previously published stories.
Her publisher, Random House, issued a statement that Munro was “amazed and very grateful” to have won the prize.
“I’m particularly glad that winning this award will please so many Canadians. I’m happy, too, that this will bring more attention to Canadian writing,” she continued. Munro is the second Canadian-born writer to win the prize, after Saul Bellow, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1976. He was born in Montreal and remained there for the first nine years of his life before moving to America.
Munro published her first collection, Dance of the Happy Shades, at the age of 37. It went on to win the prestigious Governor General’s Award for Fiction. Since then she has won two more Governor General Awards, two Giller Prizes, a National Book Critics Circle Award, and been nominated for the Man Booker Prize. In 2009, she was awarded the Man Booker International Prize for lifetime achievement. Some of her more acclaimed books include The Beggar Maid, The Love of a Good Woman, and Selected Stories.
The Nobel Prize for Literature, arguably the most prestigious literary prize in the world, is given to an author’s oeuvre, not just a single work. The winner receives 8 million kronor (around $1.2 million). Past winners include William Faulkner, John Steinbeck, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and Mo Yan, who collected the honor last year.
Other writers considered to be in the running for this year’s prize (shortlists are never announced, and all deliberations of the Academy are kept secret for 50 years) include the novelists Haruki Murakami and Assia Djebar and investigative reporter Svetlana Alexievich.
In December, Munro will travel to Stockholm to collect her prize.
Image credit: Alice Munro via Facebook