The Nobel Prize in Literature for 2013 has been awarded to Canadian author Alice Munro, who the Swedish Academy called a "master of the contemporary short story."
"She is a fantastic portrayer of human beings," said Peter Englund, permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy in an interview immediately after the announcement, adding that Munro's consistent depiction of the rural Canadian landscape proves that she "has everything she needs in this small patch of earth."
The Nobel Prize revealed via its Twitter account that it wasn't able to get ahold of Munro, but left a phone message. CBC World Report said that Munro's daughter woke her up to share the news. "I knew I was in the running, yes, but I never thought I would win," Munro told the Canadian Press.
Munro's Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle prize in 2001, and she is a three-time winner of the Governor General’s prize, Canada’s highest literary honor. In 2004, she received the Giller Prize (now the Scotiabank Giller Prize) for Runaway.
The Nobel Prize may very well be the last award of the 82 year old author's career, as she told Canada's National Post earlier in the summer that she was "probably not going to write anymore."
“This is so surprising and wonderful," said Munro in a statement through her U.S. publisher, Penguin Random House. "I am dazed by all the attention and affection that has been coming my way this morning. It is such an honor to receive this wonderful recognition from the Nobel Committee and I send them my thanks."
Munro added, "When I began writing there was a very small community of Canadian writers and little attention was paid by the world. Now Canadian writers are read, admired and respected around the globe. I’m so thrilled to be chosen as this year’s Nobel Prize for Literature recipient. I hope it fosters further interest in all Canadian writers. I also hope that this brings further recognition to the short story form."
Penguin Random House shared the news Thursday morning with "jubilation and great pride." The recent merger of the two houses brings together Munro's publisher stateside, Knopf and Vintage, and the author's paperback publisher in her native Canada, Penguin. She is published in hardcover and e-book in Canada by the PRH McCelland and Stewart imprint. Her recent books include Dear Life, Something I've Been Meaning to Tell You, and The View from Castle Rock. A Knopf spokesperson said the publisher is planning to go back to press on some titles but that nothing had been finalized Thursday morning.
As of October 6, 45,579 print copies of Munro's books have sold this year -- the vast majority editions of her latest collection, Dear Life, which has sold 13,313 copies in hardcover and 19,655 in paperback, according to Nielsen BookScan.
Munro is the 13th woman to win the prize, and will receive 8 million Swedish kronor, or about $1.2 million.