Canadian Short Story Writer Wins Nobel Prize for Literature

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Sombero Galaxy in Infrared Light, hubble space photo from http://www.ispace.com

The News Story

Today, October 10, 2013 it was announced that Alice Munro has received the Nobel Prize for Literature. For those of you who are not familiar with the writer, she is a Canadian woman, especially known for her collections of short stories. Alice was born in southwestern Ontario and still resides in the country, thus making her the first Canadian writer to receive the prestigious reward. Her short story collections are readily available in any bookstore, so acquiring some of her works is not very difficult.

AliceMunro
Recent photo of Alice Munro

What This Means for the Short Story Revival

First of all, let me clearly state the Ms. Munro has been writing short stories, all throughout her literary career and to my knowledge has not written any novels. This in itself shows true dedication to the craft, for until very recently the popularity of the short story was on the wane with a few brave souls predicting the ultimate demise of the genre. However, most recently, the short story seems to making a comeback. This recent phenomena seems linked to the rising success of ebooks, which now can be downloaded onto various and sundry electronic devices, such as cell phones and laptop computers.

Nonetheless, all this shoptalk on short stories seems mute, as the author has been writing short stories for many years and her success appears to be unrelated to current literary trends. Though it is plausible that the selection committee may have been slightly influenced by current book buying trends.

Appreciation Guide for Newbies

If you are a reader at all like me, you are well probably well aware of Alice Munro’s books, but for some reason never purchased or read one of her short stories. Fortunately, with the recent turn of events avid followers of her work have responded to her latest success by posting advice on which story to read first. Here is one such article posted over at Book Riot. Another such article can be found here.

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A Literary President

Obama and George W. Bush meet in Oval Office, White House photo by Eric Draper
Obama and George W. Bush meet in Oval Office, White House photo by Eric Draper

Last night Barack Obama gave his State of the Union (SOTU) speech to a packed house and a national TV audience. I did not watch much of it ( not much interest in watching a large crowd stand up every two minutes and applaud, then sit down), but I did happen to listen to the speech, while was working on my computer. The speech conveyed lots of important ideas and goals, plus it was delivered in fine style by a president with good oratory skills.

However, it is Barack Obamas prowess¬† as a man of words that I would like to focus upon. Though lots of presidents have been able to write well and find success as an author,¬† Obama stands out in the way by which his literary skills have been so instrumental as a springboard to his political career. In 1995 Barrack Obama released his memoir, entitled “Dreams From My Father” and then a year later he published, “Audacity of Hope”. Although not a professional writer by trade, Obama’s memoir was well received by the American public, even though he was an unknown at the time.

It is from this background that the president speaks, as he did last night. And as was obvious last night, when he does speak, he does so in a very articulate manner.