The Swedish Academy announced the recipient of the 2013 Nobel Prize in Literature on Oct. 10, and the winner is…
Alice Munro! The short-story author is the first Canadian to win the coveted $1.2 million award since Saul Bellow took the prize in 1976. She is also one of only 13 female writers to be garnered this honor in the Nobel Prize’s 112 year history.
Alice Munro: ‘Very Grateful’ To Win Nobel Prize
After receiving the award, the 82-year-old writer released a statement expressing her pure gratitude: “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.”
Alice is no stranger to success. She is a three-time winner of Canada’s prestigious Governor General’s Award for Fiction as well as the recipient of the 2009 Man Booker International Prize for her lifetime body of work.
But unlike most internationally praised authors, Alice primarily writes short stories, an art form “which has tended to come a little bit in the shadow behind the novel,” explains Peter Englund, permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy.
Alice Munro’s Roundabout Career
Alice, who was born in a conservative Canadian town in 1931, attended the University of Western Ontario’s School of Journalism on a scholarship. However, she dropped out of school after marrying one of her peers, James Munro. They had three children and Alice traded in her creative dreams for a settled life as a housewife.
Then in 1963, in the midst of depression, she opened a bookstore with James and in doing so, reinvigorated her life. She loved everything about the book business, from talking to customers to doing the paperwork and was inspired to start writing again, according to the Associated Press. Although this resurfaced passion led to the end of her marriage, there was no stopping Alice’s talents now.
Her first collection of short stories, Dance of the Happy Shades, came out just five years later in 1968 and won the Governor’s Prize.
Will Alice Write Again?
Having now received what is arguably the world’s most prestigious honor for literature, will Alice put down her pen? It is possible this will in fact be the “capstone of her career,” the Associated Press reports. As recently as June, Alice confessed that she was “probably not going to write anymore,” in a statement to Canada’s National Post.
Well, winning the Nobel Prize would definitely qualify as the perfect high to end on!
— India Irving