Skip to comments.Alice Munro wins 2013 Nobel Prize in Literature
Posted on 10/10/2013 6:03:41 AM PDT by WesternCulture
Munro, 82, was called "The master of the contemporary short story" by Swedish Academy Permanent Secretary Peter Englund when he emerged to make the announcement at 1pm.
Before he announced Munro's name, Englund let the room full of journalists know that the winner this year "would be a woman", prompting the room to erupt with cheers.
Munro's writing career began when she was a teenager growing up in Ontario. She began studying journalism and English at the University of Western Ontario, but left university when she got married in 1951, eventually moving with her husband to British Columbia where they opened a book store.
She published her first book-length work in 1968, the story collection Dance of the Happy Shades, which attracted a lot of attention in Canada. Her most recent collection of short stories, Dear Life, was published in 2012.
Munro becomes the 13th woman to claim the literature Nobel. The last woman to win was Romanian-born author Herta Müller in 2009.
She is also the second Canadian-born author to win the Nobel Prize in Literature after Saul Bellow, who won in 1976.
The announcement comes following wild speculation over who would claim this year's prize, worth 8 million kronor ($1.24 million).
While there were no clear favourites amid early speculation about the 2013 literature prize, by Thursday morning Japanese author Haruki Murakami and Svetlana Alexievich of Belarus emerged as favourites, according to oddsmakers Ladbrokes and Unibet.
On Wednesday night, Munro was number four on a list of Nobel literature candidates ranked by Unibet according to the number of bets being placed.
Earlier in the week, Ladbrokes Murakami was the favourite with 3-to-1 odds, followed by US novelist Joyce Carol Oates at 6-to-1, Hungary's Peter Nadas at 7-to-1 and Norwegian author and dramatist Jon Fosse at 9-to-1.
In addition to Alexievich, experts in Stockholm's literary circles also suggested Algerian novelist Assia Djebar.
Thursday's literature Nobel is the fourth award this week as part of the annual announcements.
The Nobel season kicked off on Monday with the announcement of the medicine prize, which went to two Americans and one German for their work in solving the mystery of how a cell organizes its transport system.
The peace prize winner is scheduled to be announced on Friday, and the economics prize on Monday, October 14th.
In line with tradition, the Swedish Academy gave no indication of its choice for the literature prize ahead of Thursday's announcement.
It never reveals the names it is considering, and its deliberations are sealed for 50 years.
Last year, the honour went to Chinese novelist Mo Yan.
I was hoping a Duck Dynasty book would win.
Have you read Munro?
On the 14th of October this year’s laurate of the Nobel Peace Prize will be announced.
I’m hoping for Jon Favreau (speechwriter for Obama).
Yes..... Kirk Munro
The Flamingo Feather
While searching his name I somehow logged to the Kansas Munro genealogical pages and now get emails asking about grandfathers and uncles and such.
The Flamingo Feather was written in 1854 about the French Huguenot efforts in 1584 to colonize America and establish what we today call Ft Caroline at Mayport FL
In Munro stories, as in Chekhov's, plot is secondary and "little happens." As with Chekhov, Garan Holcombe notes: "All is based on the epiphanic moment, the sudden enlightenment, the concise, subtle, revelatory detail." Munro's work deals with "love and work, and the failings of both. She shares Chekhovs obsession with time and our much-lamented inability to delay or prevent its relentless movement forward."
A frequent theme of her workparticularly evident in her early storieshas been the dilemmas of a girl coming of age and coming to terms with her family and the small town she grew up in. In recent work such as Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage (2001) and Runaway (2004) she has shifted her focus to the travails of middle age, of women alone and of the elderly. It is a mark of her style for characters to experience a revelation that sheds light on, and gives meaning to, an event.
v Munro's prose reveals the ambiguities of life: "ironic and serious at the same time," "mottoes of godliness and honor and flaming bigotry," "special, useless knowledge," "tones of shrill and happy outrage," "the bad taste, the heartlessness, the joy of it." Her style places the fantastic next to the ordinary with each undercutting the other in ways that simply, and effortlessly, evoke life.
Good for her, but the chance I would ever voluntarily read such fiction is only slighter greater that the chance that I will win a Nobel prize.
They “cheered” when it was announced that a female won. Sexist pigs.
Ever read Chekhov? Being compared to him is high praise.
No, I haven’t read anything by her. After Dickens, George Eliot, and Jane Austen, my favorite authors write crime/courtroom fiction.
Franklin W. Dixon passed over again.
Do you like Kipling?
I'm sure her work is well written, but given the choice between reading about the dilemmas of a girl coming of age and coming to terms with her family and the small town she grew up in (Alice Munro) or (for instance) stories which discuss the true nature of the Great Attractor, naked singularities and the great battle between Baryonic and Dark Matter lifeforms, all of which fit into a single timeline stretching from the Big Bang singularity of the past and end when the Milky Way galaxy collides with Andromeda five billion years in the future (Stephen Baxter's Xeelee Sequence) I'll choose the latter every time.
To each their own.
You sound like a big Henry James fan. /sarc
The short story is a dying form, isn't it? The decline has something to do with the diminishing number of outlets and much to with the increased output of writing program factory farms.
The form doesn't seem to attract risk takers, and there's an air of futility about the enterprise: even if one story is memorable to readers, the next one drives that memory away.
I don't want to be the guy who always puts down anybody who's attempting anything in art or literature today, but I just got a feeling of smallness and sameness in trying to read her.
It's usually constricting early life in rural Ontario or the Prairie Provinces; the bad, frustrating marriage with its suspicions and resentments; escape to Vancouver or Toronto, freedom with anomie; maybe a less painful but still complicated second marriage.
Maybe I'm wrong about this. Different people like different things, and Munro wouldn't be the worst choice the academy has made. Chekhov? Sure. If Chekhov were alive and still writing today what he was writing over a century ago, we'd probably find him boring and unsatisfying as well.
Reminds me of the several minutes of cheering J.K.Rowling was greeted with when she told a crowd at Carnegie Hall that Dumbledore was ‘gay’. WTF?
- Unfortunately, you're right.
Some of the greatest authors of all times mastered this form.
Leo Tolstoy is a good example.
Another one is my fellow countryman August Strindberg.
“Giftas”/”Getting Married” is a set of short stories every lover of Western literature should read.
I'm not wishing to say Strindberg is the greatest author ever, but the Giftas/Getting married collection is definitely a must read. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Getting_Married_(Strindberg)
Mainly his poetry! Asked for (and received) his Complete Verse one recent Christmas!
No, that would be me.
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