Wednesday, 27 May 2009


Canadian mistress of the short story (well, one of them!) Alice Munro is the winner of the third Man Booker International Prize.

The prize, worth £60,000 / c.€68,700 to the winner, is awarded once every two years "to a living author for a body of work that has contributed to an achievement in fiction on the world stage." Well, Alice has certainly achieved that. On receiving the news of her win, she said, ‘I am totally amazed and delighted.'

The judging panel was: Jane Smiley, writer; Amit Chaudhuri, writer, academic and musician; and writer, film script writer and essayist, Andrey Kurkov. It is the judges who choose the authors. There are no submissions by publishers, agents or authors. Over nearly two years, the judges read more than 70 authors and 300 books.

Regarding Alice Munro's win, the judges said:

"Alice Munro is mostly known as a short story writer and yet she brings as much depth, wisdom and precision to every story as most novelists bring to a lifetime of novels. To read Alice Munro is to learn something every time that you never thought of before."

And the prize's administrator Fiammetta Rocco said:

"...while her work is quiet, it always comes as a surprise. She never makes a wrong move, never writes a bad story, and every tale stays with the reader long after the final page. ‘There is nobody like her', one judge said. ‘Nobody so able simultaneously to be quiet - and ruthless. She is, quite simply, the best.'"

Her newest collection of short stories, Too Much Happiness, will be published in October 2009. Alice Munro will receive the prize of £60,000 and a trophy at the Award Ceremony on Thursday 25 June at Trinity College, Dublin. How I'd love to go to that.


Totalfeckineejit said...

That is some award(60k? Wow!)and some achievement.I'm delighted that it has gone to a short story writer, not that the genre needed validation, but I'm bored of people perceiving the shortstory as a stepping stone towards writing a (proper) novel.Sorry to be churlish but even the Judges seem to have been forced by her talent to award her 'despite' being a short story writer instead of 'because'.I quote from the judges and the key word here is'yet'
'Alice Munro is mostly known as a short story writer and yet she brings' etc. The short story is a jewel among, well, I don't know,things that are not jewels.Congratulations to her!


My thoughts exactly TFE. It's like 'Wow - she's really good and she doesn't even write novels!!!' Shock horror. WHen oh when will people stop equating novel writing with 'real' writing??!!

Tania Hershman said...

I echo Totalfecineejit, that "and yet" in the judges' statement seemed to me to slightly undermine their choice of her. Couldn't they have just been gracious and utterly full of praise! Such good news, though. Maybe Juno will grow up in a world where short story writers are the rock stars :)


Maybe she'll be one of those rock stars herself! ;)