2013 Nobel Prize in Literature
Alice Munro
"master of the contemporary short story."
  • 10 October 2013 (2013-10-10) (announcement)
  • 10 December 2013
LocationStockholm, Sweden
Presented bySwedish Academy
First awarded1901
WebsiteOfficial website
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The 2013 Nobel Prize in Literature was awarded to the Canadian writer Alice Munro (born 1931) as "master of the contemporary short story."[1] She is the first Canadian and the 13th woman to receive the prize.[2][3][4][5]


Main article: Alice Munro

Alice Munro has dedicated her literary career almost exclusively to the short story genre. She grew up in a small Canadian town – Huron County, Ontario – the kind of environment that often provides the backdrops for her stories. These often accommodate the entire epic complexity of the novel in just a few short pages and the underlying themes of her work are often relationship problems and moral conflicts. The relationship between memory and reality is another recurring theme she uses to create tension. With subtle means, she is able to demonstrate the impact that seemingly trivial events can have on a person's life. Her famous short story collections include Dance of the Happy Shades (1969), Who Do You Think You Are? (1978), The Progress of Love (1986), The Love of a Good Woman (1998), and Runaway (2004).[6][3]

Award ceremony

Due to her health condition and old age, Alice Munro was not able to personally participate in the award ceremony in Stockholm. Mrs. Jenny Munro, her daughter, received the diploma, medal and monetary prize from King Carl XVI Gustaf on her behalf on December 10, 2013.[7]

Peter Englund, permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy, expressed the rightfulness of bestowing Munro the Nobel prize, by saying:

"The seemingly prosaic surface level in Alice Munro’s short stories is interwoven in an interesting way with her writing style and distinctive storytelling technique. The minimalist style we encounter is clean, transparent, subtle and stunningly precise. It is a challenge to find an unessential word or a superfluous phrase. Reading one of her texts is like watching a cat walk across a laid dinner table. A brief short story can often cover decades, summarising a life, as she moves deftly between different periods. No wonder Alice Munro is often able to say more in 30 pages than an ordinary novelist is capable of in 300. She is a virtuoso of the elliptical and – as the Academy said in its brief prize citation – the master of the contemporary short story."[7]


  1. ^ The Nobel Prize in Literature 2013 nobelprize.org
  2. ^ Saul Bellow, the 1976 laureate, was born in Canada, but he moved to the United States at age nine and became a US citizen at twenty-six.
  3. ^ a b Alice Munro britannica.com
  4. ^ "The Nobel Prize in Literature 2013 – Press Release" (PDF). 10 October 2013. Retrieved 10 October 2013.
  5. ^ Charlotte Higgins (10 October 2013). "Alice Munro wins Nobel prize in literature". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 May 2021.
  6. ^ Alice Munro – Facts nobelprize.org
  7. ^ a b Prize presentation nobelprize.org