Canadian Alice Munro wins prestigious Nobel Literature Prize 2013

Ahram Online , Thursday 10 Oct 2013

Viewed by some critics as a Canadian Chekhov, Alice Munro, the 106th laureate and the 13th woman, exposes existential questions in her short stories with masterful depictions of everyday but decisive events

Alice Munro
Alice Munro (Photo: AP)

Viewed by some critics as a Canadian Chekhov, winner of the 106th Nobel Literature Prize Alice Munro is acclaimed for her finely-tuned short stories characterised by clarity and psychological realism.

The daughter of a teacher and a fox farmer, Munro -- the 13th woman to receive the prestigious award -- was born on 10 July 1931 in Wingham, according the official biography published by the Nobel Prize website.

After high school, the studies in English and journalism she pursued at the University of Western Ontario were interrupted by her marriage in 1951. Together with her husband, she settled in Victoria, British Columbia, where the couple opened a bookstore. 

Munro started writing stories in her teens, and had begun publishing in various magazines by the onset of the 1950s. Her first full-length work, the story collection Dance of the Happy Shades, was published in 1968 and solicited considerable attention in Canada. 

In 1971 she published another story collection entitled Lives of Girls and Women, which critics have described as a Bildungsroman.

Munro's works include Who Do You Think You Are? (1978), The Moons of Jupiter (1982), Runaway (2004), The View from Castle Rock (2006) and Too Much Happiness (2009). The collection Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage (2001) became the basis of the 2006 film Away from Her, directed by Sarah Polley. Her most recent collection is Dear Life (2012).

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 allow existential questions to emerge in a flash of lightning.

Alice Munro currently resides in Clinton, near her childhood home in southwestern Ontario.

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