“Master of the Contemporary Short Story” Nobelprize.org
Eighty-two year old author Alice Munro won the 2013 Nobel Prize in Literature, making her the first Canadian to win the award since it first began in 1901. She is one of only thirteen women to have won the prize. The Nobel Prize organization aptly describes her writing style as follows:
“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, 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.”
Alice Munro began writing stories in high school and published her first story, The Dimensions of a Shadow in 1950 while studying English and journalism at the University of Western Ontario. Munro continued writing throughout the 50’s for various magazines. In 1968, Munro’s first story collection, entitled Dance of the Happy Shades, was published.
Over the years Munro went on to publish numerous award winning short story collections. A story from the collection, Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship and Marriage (published in 2001) entitled, The Bear Came Over the Mountain, was adapted for the critically acclaimed film ‘Away from Her’ directed by Canadian Sarah Polley.
Munro’s last book Dear Life, described by Alice Munro as the most autobiographical book she has written, was published in 2012. After winning the Trillium Book Award for Dear Life in 2013, Munro announced in an interview with the National Post that she would be retiring from writing. However, when asked her about retirement in an interview with the Swedish Academy following her win, she stated that, “This may change my mind”. Let’s hope so.
Why not celebrate Canadian Library month in style by borrowing an Alice Munro book from the library.