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Alice Munro withdraws her name from Giller Prize contention: Good idea?

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Alice-Munro_lLooks like Alice Munro might have too much generosity: It was officially confirmed today that the beloved Canadian author had withdrawn her latest story collection, Too Much Happiness, from contention for the Giller Prize (think: Canada’s National Book Award). Her reason? According to her publisher, the 78-year-old writer had already won the award twice (for 1998’s The Love of a Good Woman and 2004’s Runaway) and was hoping to give younger writers a chance to nab the prize. Say it with me: “Aww.” To be frank, I’m surprised that any author would remove his or her name from awards consideration, if only because even a nomination would drum up an enormous amount of publicity for a book. But could an author really be this selfless? Could we imagine, say, perennial Emmy winner Tony Shalhoub just deciding to sit it out because he’s won enough statuettes?

Do you think Munro made the right decision? Or could all authors, best-selling or no, use the publicity the award brings?

Photo credit: Paul Hawthorne / AP Images