Thursday, October 10, 2013

Alice Munro and the Nobel Prize

Hey this is really good news. Not terribly shocking, I must say, and a more conventional choice that Nobel committee has been making in the last few years. Except Llosa. And that's not to say that she doesn't deserve it, God knows. I also like that the committee has selected someone who writes short stories as her main medium. I can't think of another Nobel laureate who is known mainly for short stories, at least not in recent memory.

You go, girl
As per usual, Americans gripe that an American hasn't won in 20 years (Toni Morrison in 1993) which I always find incredibly irritating. Even the New York Times did it this morning. As if all or most writers come from the US. Yes, there are many famous writers in the USA but fame is not itself a criteria for the Nobel. (Sidebar: what is this obsession with fame? Americans - and Canadians for that matter - often equate fame with quality.) That said, I don't recall Canadian media outlets griping each year that a Canadian hasn't won when they award it to someone else.

I thought Murakami would be up there but maybe he's still too youngish. That said, only two other Japanese have won, Kenzaburo Oe (the year after Morrison) and Yasunari Kawabata way back in like 1968. I was also thinking perhaps Umberto Eco might be on the list though he often isn't listed there in the possible laureates.

We've been working on Alice for a few years, a number of years more like it. But she's not been in the greatest of health, so we've had no luck. I'm sure she'll manage to rest up to fly to Oslo to accept this, though. It's funny because I was just talking about Alice Munro last night to our board, an event that we are planning involving her work at the 2014 Festival.

So when it happens in late April, remember: it wasn't because she won the Nobel prize!

Anyway, it's a first for Canada! I believe? And will generate interest in her work (which has managed to do well for many years anyway).

Great news.

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