It was a year ago today that Canadian short story writer Alice Munro received the Nobel Prize for Literature.
Less than six months later, the Royal Canadian Mint (RCM) unveiled a new collector coin celebrating her tremendous accomplishment of receiving the Nobel Prize. To honour Munro’s remarkable achievement and to encourage a thriving writing community in Canada, the Mint also donated $10,000 to the Writers’ Trust of Canada.
The reverse image of the 99.99% pure silver coin was designed by Canadian artist Laurie McGaw and features an ethereal female figure emerging from a pen as a representation of one of the many central characters from Alice Munro’s beloved short stories.
An image of a hand is seen resting against an open book, whose pages are inscribed with a passage from Munro’s The View from Castle Rock, which reads: “And in one of these houses – I can’t remember whose – a magic doorstop, a big mother-of-pearl seashell that I recognized as a messenger from near and far, because I could hold it to my ear – when nobody was there to stop me – and discover the tremendous pounding of my own blood, and of the sea.” Above it, a laurel branch celebrates Munro’s distinction as the first Canadian woman to win a Nobel Prize in Literature.
Born in Wingham on July 10, 1931, Munro’s work has been described as having revolutionized the architecture of short stories, especially in its tendency to move forward and backward in time. Her stories have been said to “embed more than announce, reveal more than parade.”
Munro’s fiction is most often set in her native Huron County in southwestern Ontario.
Her stories explore human complexities in an uncomplicated prose style. Munro’s writing has established her as “one of our greatest contemporary writers of fiction,” or, as Cynthia Ozick put it, “our Chekhov.”
Munro is the recipient of many literary accolades, including the 2013 Nobel Prize in Literature for her work as “master of the contemporary short story”, and the 2009 Man Booker International Prize for her lifetime body of work. She is also a three-time winner of Canada’s Governor General’s Award for fiction and was the recipient of the Writers’ Trust of Canada’s 1996 Marian Engel Award, as well as the 2004 Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize for Runaway.