Alice Munro
Credit: Peter Muhly/AFP/Getty Images

Canadian author Alice Munro, cited as a “master of the contemporary story,” was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature this morning in Stockholm, Sweden. In a statement, she said, “This is so surprising and wonderful. I am dazed by all the attention and affection that has been coming my way this morning. It is such an honour to receive this wonderful recognition from the Nobel Committee, and I send them my thanks.”

She added, “When I began writing there was a very small community of Canadian writers and little attention was paid by the world. Now Canadian writers are read, admired and respected around the globe. I’m so thrilled to be chosen as this year’s Nobel Prize recipient. I hope it fosters further interest in all Canadian writers. I also hope that this brings further recognition to the short story form.”

Munro, 82, has been listed as a leading contender for the honor for several years after having won most of the top literary prizes for which she’s eligible. Her first short story collection, Dance of the Happy Shades, garnered rave reviews in upon its release in 1968. Of her 14 short story collections, Open Secrets (1994) is often considered her seminal work. Her stories often center on rural settings in Southern Ontario and tend to be more driven by salient details and revelations than external events.

Last year, Munro announced that Dear Life, which came out in paperback in June, would be her final short story collection.

Munro is the first North American author to receive the prize since the United States’ Toni Morrison won in 1993. The winner is also awarded 8 million Swedish kronor, or about $1.2 million.