Alice Munro became a member of a very exclusive club this week. She is one of eleven women to win the Nobel Prize for Literature. Joining a list that includes Pearl Buck, Nadine Gordimer, Toni Morrison and Doris Lessing, she also became the first Canadian author to win the Nobel Prize.
The Nobel selection committee called Alice Munro a “master of the contemporary short story.” And, indeed, all her books are collections of stories. Growing up she always wanted to be a writer. As a young woman who managed a book store and attended her three children, Munro took to writing short stories as if they were practice for some future novel that she might write. Once published, she never left the genre. Her stories, which are set in her native Canada, are often about women whose lives shift between domesticity and independence; between reality and dreams. Her themes are quiet, but emotionally shattering.
The Monrovia Public Library owns eight of Alice Munro’s short story collections. They are Moons of Jupiter; Dance of the Happy Shades; Something I Have Been Meaning to Tell You; Beggar Maid,; Friend of My Youth; Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship and Marriage; Selected Stories; Runaway and The View from the Castle Rock.
Ms. Munro is now eighty-two years old. She said she had decided to stop writing because she had been working for so many years, but that this prize may cause her to reconsider.