On Alice Munro Winning the Nobel Prize

Lovin’ it! Winning over Margaret Atwood, the ‘Canadian Icon’–#71 Greatest Canadian–also on the short list. My, my, how that choice must pass someone’s jealousy test today.

Re. the choice–a very astute one, very well-considered, very just.

Now there are those who may feel that Munro’s ‘paltry’ 14 story collections is insufficient in the case of quantity vs. quality But Munro represents, and very modestly and self-effacingly, the best of quality in contrast to “Well, I’ve done so much and in so many different forms.”

I will admit that when it came time in my 2nd edition of Inside Poetry to pick a feature Canadian poet to stand with Neruda, Frost and Szymborska, I chose Atwood, mainly for her ironic, rich-imaged relationship poems. She is still the top woman poet in Canada and has been since the ’70s.

But Alice Munro is Canada’s best storyteller and prose-writer and has been since the late ’60s when she won the GG for Dance of the Happy Shades. There is so much truth, honesty, and depth to her work. She writes believably and convincingly about daily life and real people. She knew herself well enough, not to stray from her preferred and best genre, and end up weakening her craft by spreading it thinly or trying to change the past and its worthy traditions, by politicking to change the words to the national anthem!
No, Munro had focus and did not showboat and telegraph “Look what I can do. Aren’t I wonderful, amazing, and powerful?”

No, there is more to life than just imagining strangeness and the bizarre. More that ordinary and most people can connect to.

The 2013 Nobel Prize for Literature got it right, and picked a great, worthy Canadian winner. Quality over quantity. Absolutely. Alice Munro.


Alice Munro–one of Canada’s greatest writers. Strong, consistent, engaging body of work. A nice Real Classy Lady, to boot. Very deserving. Terrific choice. One of the best Nobel choices ever. Made my day.

For more on Atwood, c.f. Al Purdy’s classic poem “Concerning Ms. Atwood”.

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