The author has become the first Canadian woman to be awarded the prestigious honour
Alice Munro has walked away with the 2013 Nobel Prize in Literature following this week's award ceremony in Stockholm, Sweden. The 82-year-old short story writer, whose work has been adapted to numerous award-winning films and plays, became only the 13th woman to be awarded the most prized honour in literature and was handed lashings of praise for her life's achievements during the award gala.
News of her win arrived in British Columbia on Thursday morning (10th October) following Wednesday night's ceremony on the other side of the Atlantic, with CBC News first making her win viral. The Ontario author last published Dear Life in 2012 and wasn't actually at the Stockholm ceremony, as she believed her chances of winning were too slim to even bother. She told CBC following her win that winning the award was "one of those pipe dreams" that "might happen, but it probably wouldn't."
But the woman referred to as the Canadian Chekhov did win, and she genuinely couldn't believe the news of her success. She recalled, "It's the middle of the night here and I had forgotten about it all, of course. It just seems impossible. A splendid thing to happen...My stories have gotten around quite remarkably for short stories. I would really hope that this would make people see the short story as an important art, not something you play around with until you got a novel written."
Munro also said that her late husband, Gerald Fremlin, who died in April this year, would have been very happy, as would her first husband, James Munro, with whom she had three children. She added that her family have also told her how proud they are since the news was announced.
Muro was born Alice Anne Laidlaw in Ontario in 1931 and after a formal education attended the University of Western Ontario in London to study journalism. She dropped out mid-studies to marry fellow student James Munro and she became a full-time housewife and mother to their children. In 1963, the family opened a bookstore and her love with writing was rekindled. The two were divorced some time later and in 1976 she married again, this time to geographer/cartographer Fremlin, who further encouraged her to write.
Among her most famous works include The Lives of Girls and Women and The Bear Came Over the Mountain, with the latter being adapted int the Oscar-nominated Away From Her in 2006. Her story Hateship Friendship Courtship Loveship Marriage was also adapted for film, starring Kristen Wiig and premiering at this year's Toronto Film Festival.
"[She was] the master of the contemporary short story," Peter Englund, permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy, said in a statement. "We're not saying just that she can say a lot in just 20 pages — more than an average novel writer can — but also that she can cover ground. She can have a single short story that covers decades, and it works."
Sarah Polley was nominated for an Oscar for her adaptation of The Bear Came Over The Mountain