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Alice Munro, Mom of Four, Wins Nobel Prize in Literature

Photograph by Rex / Rex USA

Alice Munro, the Canadian short story writer and mother, was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature this morning, making her the 13th woman to take home the award in that category.

Lauded by the judges for being a "master of the contemporary short story," Munro was with one of her daughters in Victoria, British Columbia, when she received the news, The New York Times reports.

“It just seems impossible,” she told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, according to the Times. “It seems just so splendid a thing to happen, I can’t describe it, it’s more than I can say.”

The Wingham, Ontario-born writer, whose stories mostly take place in small-town settings, told The Paris Review that she began writing at age 7 or 8 and continued through two years of college at The University at Western Ontario. After those two years, she got married and then had her first baby at 21.

But she continued to write.

"I was writing desperately all the time I was pregnant because I thought I would never be able to write afterwards," she told The Paris Review. "Each pregnancy spurred me to get something big done before the baby was born."

Her first short story collection was published when she was 37, according to the Times.

While she told The New Yorker that she thought her short stories were "practice" for writing a novel, she eventually realized "they were all [she] could do, and [she] faced that," reports the Times.

Munro also told the CBC, “I would really hope this would make people see the short story as an important art, not just something you played around with until you got a novel.”

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