Wonderful news for literary enthusiasts, people who care about the Nobel Prize, fans of the short story, and ... Canadians! Alice Munro won the Nobel Prize in Literature, and the 82-year-old author is the 13th woman to win. Congratulations, Alice! So well deserved.
As they announced her name in Stockholm, the Swedish Academy showered Alice with praise, saying that she was a “master of the contemporary short story.” She lives in Clinton, which is a town in Ontario. Her first collection of stories, Dance of the Happy Shades (1968), won the Governor General's Award. She says she plans to retire after Dear Life, her 14th collection. Her work can also frequently be seen in publications such as The New Yorker and The Atlantic Monthly.
She said in a statement: “I’m particularly glad that winning this award will please so many Canadians. I’m happy, too, that this will bring more attention to Canadian writing.”
Can't think of a more deserving author. If you've ever read any of her stories, you know how easily and beautifully she describes humans and their super complex emotions. Engrossing stuff from start to finish. Here are 10 of only just a sampling of her amazing quotes and passages from her works:
1. The complexity of things -- the things within things -- just seems to be endless. I mean nothing is easy, nothing is simple.
2. The deep, personal material of the latter half of your life is your children. You can write about your parents when they're gone, but your children are still going to be here, and you're going to want them to come and visit you in the nursing home.
3. I want the reader to feel something is astonishing. Not the 'what happens,' but the way everything happens. These long short story fictions do that best, for me.
4. Naturally my stories are about women -- I'm a woman. I don't know what the term is for men who write mostly about men. I'm not always sure what is meant by "feminist." In the beginning I used to say, well, of course I'm a feminist. But if it means that I follow a kind of feminist theory, or know anything about it, then I'm not. I think I'm a feminist as far as thinking that the experience of women is important. That is really the basis of feminism.
5. I have never kept diaries. I just remember a lot and am more self-centered than most people.
6. It's certainly true that when I was young, writing seemed to me so important that I would have sacrificed almost anything to it ... Because I thought of the world in which I wrote -- the world I created -- as somehow much more enormously alive than the world I was actually living in.
7. People are curious. A few people are. They will be driven to find things out, even trivial things. They will put things together, knowing all along that they may be mistaken. You see them going around with notebooks, scraping the dirt off gravestones, reading microfilm, just in the hope of seeing this trickle in time, making a connection, rescuing one thing from the rubbish.
8. Moments of kindness and reconciliation are worth having, even if the parting has to come sooner or later.
9. Why is it a surprise to find that people other than ourselves are able to tell lies?
10. As soon as a man and woman of almost any age are alone together within four walls it is assumed that anything may happen. Spontaneous combustion, instant fornication, triumph of the senses. What possibilities men and women must see in each other to infer such dangers. Or, believing in the dangers, how often they must think about the possibilities.
Have you read any of Alice's short stories? Which one is your favorite?
Image via Paul Hawthorne/AP/Corbis