Celebrated Canadian short-story writer Alice Munro, who announced her retirement earlier this year, has won the prestigious Nobel Prize in Literature, becoming the first Canadian-based writer to earn the honour. Munro, 82, is the 13th woman to win the prize.
Here are the female Nobel Prize Winners for Literature:
1909 Selma Lagerof (Sweden)
1926 Grazia Deledda (Italy)
1928 Sigrid Undset (Norway)
1938 Pearl Buck (USA)
1945 Gabriela Mistral (Chile)
1966 Nelly Sachs (Sweden)
1991 Nadine Gordimer South Africa)
1993 Toni Morrison (USA)
1996 Wislawa Szymborska (Poland)
2009 Herta Muller (Germany)
2013 Alice Munroe (Canada)
She told the Canadian newspaper, Globe and Mail ,recently that she intended on retiring after the publication of “Dark Life,” her 14th story collection. She won a Trillium Book Award for the piece in June.
During her extensive career, Munro has been a perennial contender for the Nobel Prize and has won the Man Booker International Prize, and Canadian Awards: two Scotia Bank Giller Prizes, three Governor General’s Literary Awards. Alice has also and the American National Book Critics Circle Award, to name a few.
Munro was born in 1931 in Wingham, Ont., to a mother who was a teacher and a father who was a fox farmer. She studied journalism briefly, before getting married and moving to Victoria, where she and her husband opened a book-store.
She began writing in her teens and published her first book in 1968. Dance of the Happy Shades, a collection of short stories, garnered praise in Canada. Here extensive bibliography includes:
Who Do You Think You Are? (1978)
The Moons of Jupiter (1982)
Too Much Happiness (2009)
What Did the Nobel Committee write about Alice?
Munro is acclaimed for her finely tuned storytelling, which is characterized by clarity and psychological realism. Some critics consider her a Canadian Chekhov. Her stories are often set in small town environments, where the struggle for a socially acceptable existence often results in strained relationships and moral conflicts – problems that stem from generational differences and colliding life ambitions. Her texts often feature depictions of everyday but decisive events, epiphanies of a kind, that illuminate the surrounding story and let existential questions appear in a flash of lightning.
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne joined the chorus of those celebrating the distinguished author, saying in a statement that her book “Lives of Girls and Women” has been a personal favourite.
“Ms. Munro has, over the course of her long career, established herself as one of the world’s greatest living authors and a tremendous source of pride and inspiration for this province,” Wynne said.
Canadian Prime Minister, Stephen Harper even took the opportunity to pump the tires on Canada’s writing community at large.
“Canadians are enormously proud of this remarkable accomplishment, which is the culmination of a lifetime of brilliant writing,” Harper stated.
“Ms. Munro is a giant in Canadian literature and this Nobel Prize further solidifies Canada’s place among the ranks of countries with the best writers in the world.”