Alice Munro wins Nobel Prize for Literature!

My head was a magpie’s nest lined with such bright scraps of information.”

― Alice Munro, Too Much Happiness

Book fans around our office are full of Canadian pride today with the news that author Alice Munro has won the Nobel Prize for Literature.

The annual literary prize recognizes Munro for her work as the “master of the contemporary short story.” Munro is the first Canadian-based writer to win the award, and the 13th woman on a list that includes Pearl S. Buck, Toni Morrison and Doris Lessing.

Earlier this year, the 82-year-old author announced that her most recent book, Dear Life, would be her last.

Munro has said that her writing was influenced by writers from the American South. “They showed me that you could write about small towns, rural people, and that kind of life I knew very well.” Small town life figures largely in Munro’s stories, which are inspired by her life in Wingham, Ontario, a rural community near Lake Huron.

And that’s what we love best about Munro’s stories. They could be about any of us or our neighbours, and what seem like simple tales about quiet lives are, in fact, deeply complex and emotionally gripping.

“I want the reader to feel something is astonishing,” Munro has said of her work. “Not the ‘what happens’, but the way everything happens.”

We’re not the only ones celebrating, today. Social media is a-twitter with congratulations from Munro’s writing peers and fans. “We are bursting with excitement and pride,” said Munro’s Canadian publisher, McClelland & Stewart’s Ellen Seligman, in a statement. “What an honour for such a great writer, a writer who has always stuck simply to what she does. It’s well deserved.”

We couldn’t agree more.

If you haven’t read Munro before, now is a great time to start. She has written 14 books, including bestsellers like Dance of the Happy Shades, Who Do You Think You Are?, Friend of My Youth, Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage, Too Much Happiness, and Dear Life.

And, if you’ve got a yen for more great Canadian literature, be sure to check out our Margaret Atwood reading list. We wonder when she’ll get her Nobel nod.