Alice Munro, the Canadian doyenne of the short story, has been awarded the Nobel prize in literature, following in the footsteps of Sartre, Hemingway, Pinter and Pirandello.
The 82-year-old had been among the favourites to win the prize, along with the Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami and the Belorussian journalist and author Svetlana Alexieva.
In her 14 volumes of short stories, including The View From Castle Rock (2006) and The Progress of Love (1986), the warp and weft of rural and small-town life in south-western Ontario has always been her subject, having never swerved off course into the novel.
She once said of her work: "What I wanted was every last thing, every layer of speech and thought, stroke of light on bark or walls, every smell, pothole, pain, crack, delusion, held still and held together – radiant, everlasting."
Earlier this year she announced her retirement from writing – which prompted the following tribute from the novelist Jane Smiley: "Thank you, Alice Munro, for one glittering jewel of a story after another. Thank you for the many days and nights I spent lost in your work. Thank you for your unembarrassed woman's perspective on the lives of girls and women, but also the lives of boys and men. Thank you for your cruelty as well as your kindness, because the one plus the other is the essence of truthfulness."
Munro is the 110th winner of the prize and the 13th woman to receive it.
(c) 2013 Guardian Newspapers Limited.
Original headline: Alice Munro Wins Nobel prize in literature
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