13th woman to win literature prize
Stockholm, 10 October
Canada’s Alice Munro won the Nobel Literature Prize today for her short stories that focus on the frailties of the human condition, becoming just the 13th woman to win in the history of the coveted award.
The Swedish Academy honoured Munro, 82, as a “master of the contemporary short story”.
It hailed her “finely tuned storytelling, which is characterised 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,” it said.
Tipped as one of the favourites in the days before today’s announcement, Munro is just the 13th woman to win the Nobel Literature Prize since it was first awarded in 1901. She is also the first Canadian to win the prestigious honour. Munro will receive the prize sum of eight million Swedish kronor ($1.24 million).
She will be presented with her award at a formal ceremony in Stockholm on 10 December, the anniversary of prize founder Alfred Nobel’s death in 1896.
The writer said that she had been awakened by her daughter with the news that Sweden’s Nobel Committee had given her its literature prize. She said she always viewed her chances of winning the Nobel as “one of those pipe dreams” that “might happen, but it probably wouldn’t”.
“It’s the middle of the night here and I had forgotten about it all, of course,” she told the Canadian broadcaster. Munro called the honour “a splendid thing to happen”. The writer told the CBC that her husband, who died a few months ago, would have been very happy, but said she likely would not reconsider an earlier vow to abandon writing
“because I am getting rather old”.
Last year, the award went to Chinese novelist Mo Yan.