May 26, 2009 / 11:04 PM / 10 years ago

Canadian short story writer Munro wins UK award

LONDON (Reuters) - Canadian short story writer Alice Munro won the 60,000-pound ($96,000) Man Booker International Prize on Wednesday.

The 77-year-old became the third author to win the biennial prize, the international version of Britain’s top literary award, the Man Booker Prize.

“I am totally amazed and delighted,” said Munro, best known for her short stories and one of Canada’s most celebrated writers. She beat competition from shortlisted authors including V.S. Naipaul, Peter Carey and Mario Vargas Llosa.

The panel of judges said in a statement: “Alice Munro is mostly known as a short story writer and yet she brings as much depth, wisdom and precision to every story as most novelists bring to a lifetime of novels.

“To read Alice Munro is to learn something every time that you never thought of before.”

Munro was born in Ontario, Canada in 1931 and in 1963 she moved to Victoria where she and her husband established Munro Books.

Her first collection of stories, “Dance of the Happy Shades” (1968), won the Canadian literary prize the Governor General’s Award, and three years later her “Lives of Girls and Women” picked up the Canadian Booksellers Association International Book Year Award.

In 1980, “The Beggar Maid” was shortlisted for the annual Booker Prize for Fiction.

The Man Booker International Prize is awarded to a living author who has published fiction either originally in English or whose work is generally available in English.

The winner is chosen by a panel of judges, this year headed by U.S. author Jane Smiley. Unlike the Booker, which honors a single book, the international version rewards a body of work.

Nigerian writer Chinua Achebe won the 2007 prize and Albanian Ismail Kadare won the inaugural prize in 2005.

Reporting by Mike Collett-White; editing by Tim Pearce

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