Big congrats are in order today for Canadian writer Alice Munro, who was awarded the 2013 Nobel Prize in Literature. The Swedish Academy selected the author for the honor based on, as the press release aptly put it, her mastery of the contemporary short story.
Munro told The New Yorker last year that “for years and years I thought that stories were just practice, till I got time to write a novel...Then I found that they were all I could do, and so I faced that. I suppose that my trying to get so much into stories has been a compensation.” And, her works do boast an almost daunting — but also inviting — depth and breadth of characters and themes. It makes sense that she shares a birthday with Proust (July 10), because though their respective styles lie on opposite ends of the spectrum in many ways, both are known for a subtle and strong treatment of memory and its faulty lens.
Munro might make a good fit on our late-bloomers list. She published her first collection of stories, Dance of the Happy Shades, at 37 years old in 1968. Since then, she has published 13 more books, and collected an impressive array of awards and prizes along the way. Though she's said she would retire after the publication of her latest work, Dear Life, we're hoping this honor might just spur her onward and upward. Goodness knows she's still got it.