Canada’s Alice Munro — called the “master of the contemporary short story” — won the 2013 Nobel Prize in literature, the Swedish Royal Academy of Sciences announced Thursday.
The prize committee compared the 82-year-old author to Anton Chekhov, the 19th century Russian who is considered one of the greatest short story writers in history.
After the prestigious award was announced, the Nobel committee said on Twitter that it hadn’t been able to contact Munro and left a phone message to tell her the good news.
“Munro is acclaimed for her finely tuned storytelling, which is characterized by clarity and psychological realism. Some critics consider her a Canadian Chekhov,” the committee said.
“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.”
Munro lives in the southwestern Ontario town of Clinton. She started writing stories in her teenage years and in 1968 published “Dance of the Happy Shades,” a book-length collection of short stories.
The 2001 collection “Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage” was the basis of the 2006 film “Away from Her,” directed by Sarah Polley.