Winner of this year’s Nobel prize for literature, Alice Munro is not merely Canada’s greatest living writer but one of the greatest living writers period. By Malcolm Jones
This morning, before writing about Alice Munro, who has won the Nobel prize for literature, I took down from the shelf a couple of volumes of her short stories, thinking to thumb through them and refresh my memory (or maybe I was just stalling, awed, or merely stymied, by the prospect of summing up a life’s work in a few paragraphs). Two hours later, I looked up, wondering where the time had gone. I suppose that when people talk about a writer casting a spell, this is what they mean.
And reported it to the feds.
We're not ready to put those years of lies and deception to bed just yet. A new book about Lance Armstrong, called Wheelman, alleges that the cycling star's former girlfriend, country singer Sheryl Crow, was privy to Armstrong's doping habits and told federal investigators after witnessing a banned blood transfusion. "He trusted that Crow would have no desire to tell the press or anyone else about the team's doping program," Wall Street Journal reporters Reed Albergotti and Vanessa O'Connell write in the book, which comes out Tuesday. Crow and Armstrong broke up in 2006 after three years together.
The winner of the 2013 Nobel Prize for Literature is Canadian short story writer Alice Munro. Here is our 60-second guide to her work and life.
Alice Munro, the 82-year-old Canadian author, is one of the greatest short-story writers of our time. The Swedish Academy, which on Thursday morning awarded Munro the 2013 Nobel Prize for Literature, simply said that she is a “master of the contemporary short story.” Her short tales are always finely tuned, filled with psychological realism, swerving on a moment of epiphany that makes her the heir to Chekhov—indeed she is often considered the Canadian Chekhov—and James Joyce’s The Dubliners.
The acclaimed Canadian novelist Margaret Atwood talks with Noah Charney about her writing routine, how she invented an electronic pen, and her stint as a hockey goalie.
NC: Describe your morning routine. MA: I’d be lucky to have a morning routine! But let’s pretend… I’d get up in the morning, have breakfast, have coffee, then go upstairs to the room where I write. I’d sit down and probably start transcribing from what I’d [hand]written the day before. NC: Is there anything distinctive or unusual about the room in which you write? MA: I’m not often in a set writing space. I don’t think there’s anything too unusual about it, except that it’s full of books and has two desks.
Tells Canadian press the news is "quite wonderful."
The Swedish Academy announced Thursday that Alice Munro, the Canadian author known for her short stories about life in southwestern Ontario, is the 2013 winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature. The 82-year-old author told Canadian press that she was delighted at the news, but also "terribly suprised." "I never thought I would win. At this moment, I can't believe it," she said. "But it's quite wonderful." Munro has published 13 short-story collections, including her debut, Dance of the Happy Shades (1968), which won her first Governor award, and The Progress of Love, which won the award exactly three decades later. Her final story collection, she said, was 2012's Dear Life, and she announced in June that she had retired from writing.
Why do intellectuals hate democracy? Was Borges a fascist? The contentious 2010 Nobel Laureate Mario Vargas Llosa talks to Michael Moynihan about the big questions in literature and politics.
Mario Vargas Llosa, the Peruvian novelist and winner of the 2010 Nobel Prize for Literature, is considered a political novelist because his politics aren’t the politics of most novelists. In the pantheon of modern Spanish-language fiction you’ll find a surplus of writers informed by radical thought—think Jose Saramago, Roberto Bolaño, Eduardo Galeano, Carlos Fuentes, and Gabriel Garcia Marquez. But Vargas Llosa is an outlier, an apostate from radicalism turned habitué of the classical liberal world, a former supporter of the Cuban Revolution transformed into an evangelist for free markets and free trade.
Eleven years after she was kidnapped and held for nine months, Elizabeth Smart is out with a new memoir. From the words her abductor spoke as he seized her to his wife’s sanction of rape, speed-read ‘My Story.’
In 2002, Elizabeth Smart, a 14-year-old girl from a Mormon family in Salt Lake City, was abducted, raped, and chained for nine months by religious zealot Brian David Mitchell and his wife Wand Barzee. In a new memoir, My Story, Smart has told her own account of her ordeal, writing that she tried several times to flee and was once almost rescued by a homicide detective. We speed-read the book for the nine biggest revelations.1. The Moment Mitchell Decided Smart ‘Was the One’The first time Brian David Mitchell saw Elizabeth Smart was in November 2001.
Wrote for The New Republic since 1958.
American cinema will never be the same. Legendary film critic Stanley Kauffmann died Wednesday at the age of 97. The cause was pneumonia. The critic who defined a generation, Kauffmann came to The New Republic in 1958, after brief stints at Time and Newsweek. Kauffmann stayed with the magazine for 55 years, becoming the most constant voice in the golden age of film criticism. He was also known for his belief in cultural renaissance. “He fathered the term ‘the film generation’ to describe the rising young wave of cinephiles,” writes James Wolcott in a tribute. There will be no funeral, but rather a memorial service at The New Republic.
Will it finally be Haruki Murakami’s year? What about Svetlana Alexievich and Assia Djebar? If you’re wondering, ‘Who?’ we’ve got you covered with a primer on the top 10 likeliest Nobel Prize in Literature winners ahead of Thursday’s announcement. Plus, a gallery of the biggest Nobel snubs in history.
The sports betting site Ladbrokes opened its book on the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2005 and since then has had a remarkable 50 percent accuracy rate. It correctly predicted the winner in 2006, 2008, 2009, and 2011. This year, the Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami once again has the shortest odds, but you might be unfamiliar with some of the other favorites. Here’s a primer on the 10 likeliest winners so you can study up before the prize is announced.
The 2013 Nobel Prize in Literature is expected to be announced Thursday, and readers are eagerly gearing up for it. But the award is never given posthumously, which creates a dilemma for members of the Swedish Academy: they face the constant risk of failing to honor the best authors of their time. From Joyce to Tolstoy to Woolf, here are some of the giants of literature who passed away before they could be made a laureate. Plus, a gallery of the all the winners since 2000.
There have been numerous novels inspired by Jane Austen’s 'Pride and Prejudice,' but Jo Baker’s depiction of what happens below stairs with the servants is the most intriguing yet. Lauren Elkin on a smart fan fiction.
Since its publication in 1813, and most especially in the past few decades, Jane Austen’s classic Pride and Prejudice has inspired numerous adaptations, faithful and eccentric: a number of film and television treatments, a couple of musicals, and by my count 171 novels ranging from 2009’s breakout hit Pride and Prejudice and Zombies to lesser-known titles like Pride and Platypus, Fitzwilliam Darcy: Rock Star, and Pride and Prejudice: the Jewess and the Gentile.
What happens when Americans return from war? David Finkel’s book answers that question with disturbing and painful detail. Veteran Matt Gallagher reflects.
According to a report (PDF) released by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs earlier this year, an estimated 22 veterans committed suicide in America each day in 2010. U.S. Army soldier suicides outnumbered combat-related deaths in 2012. And 30 percent of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America survey respondents have considered taking their own life.Those are the numbers, and numbers have a way of numbing us to the complexities that make up everyday life.
In her new book 'The Glass Slipper,' Susan Ostrov Weisser looks at the rivalry between two of England's most famous female novelists.
It’s a fascinating oddity of literary history that the great Victorian novelist of romantic love, Charlotte Brontë, despised that other great British chronicler of love, Jane Austen, and could not quite comprehend why Austen was valued so highly by critics in Brontë’s time. This seems counterintuitive: after all, both appear regularly at the top of lists of favorites compiled by readers, especially female readers, who love classic novels and all things romantic.
John Freeman, the former editor of Granta and author of the new book ‘How to Read a Novelist,’ knows his literary reviews—he has written for almost 200 publications around the world. He picks his favorite books of criticism, from Updike to Edwidge Danticat.
Hugging the Shore by John Updike. For 20 months, between marriages, John Updike lived alone in Boston, “my foam-rubber reading chair three paces from my dining table and two paces from my bed.” Hugging the Shore, Updike’s fourth collection of assorted prose, grew out of this period, and shows what marvelous things can be done with readerly solitude. Filled with travel pieces on Venezuela, essays on going barefoot, and reviews of an astonishing array of writers, from Ngugi wa Thiong’o to Buchi Emecheta to V.
Study says it improves empathy.
Your high school English teacher was right. A study by psychologists David Comer Kidd and Emanuele Castano of the New School for Social Research claims that reading literary fiction augments our ability to detect and understand emotions. Kidd and Castano randomly assigned 1,000 participants some texts to read, either portions of popular fiction such as Danielle Steel or Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, or more literary texts, such as Téa Obreht’s The Tiger's Wife, Don DeLillo, or Anton Chekhov. They then used a series of tests to measure empathy—in other words, how accurately they could identify emotions in others. Scores were consistently higher for those who read literary fiction. The scientists were careful not to entirely dismiss the more popular authors, saying, “There are likely benefits of reading popular fiction—certainly entertainment. We just did not measure them.”
As Anastasia’s mother.
So there will also be plot in the upcoming Fifty Shades of Grey movie. Actress Jennifer Ehle has been cast in the Fifty Shades film adaptation as Anastasia Steele’s mother, her rep confirmed Monday. Wait, there are parts of Fifty Shades that aren’t straight-up S&M? Who knew? She joins Dakota Johnson, who plays the heroine, and Charlie Human, who plays 27-year-old billionaire Christian Grey.
Her book is released Tuesday.
Elizabeth Smart’s new book tells “what it was like every single day” of the nine months that she was held by two religious fanatics, she told Anderson Cooper on Monday. Now 25, Smart was abducted by Brian David Mitchell and his wife, Wanda Brazee, when Smart was just 14, and was held for nine months and raped and abused constantly. Smart’s book on the kidnapping will be released Tuesday. “I didn’t want to go 10 percent and sugarcoat the rest,” Smart said. “I want to reach out to those survivors and those victims. I want them to know that these things do happen, but that doesn’t mean you have to be defined by it for the rest of your life.”
Are you a football fan? This one book will change the way you view the NFL and the price players pay for your enjoyment and dollars. Kevin Fixler on why he can’t watch a game the same way anymore.
I'm unable to watch football these days as I used to. I desperately wish I could, but I just can't. And after you finish reading this book, you won't be able to either. The book is League of Denial, from brothers Mark Fainaru-Wada (co-author of Game of Shadows) and Steve Fainaru (2008 recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for international reporting), and it is one that the National Football League probably wishes was never written. The book explores the football factory that was the city of Pittsburgh, why it became the epicenter of the NFL's concussion crisis, and how an improbable character by chance flicked the first domino to set off a devastating chain reaction with which the league is still grappling.
Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia believes in the devil. Do you? Religion professor Candida Moss on why the justice’s admission is common—and what the Bible says about devilry.
In an interview in New York Magazine, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia declared that he believes the Devil is a “real person.” Scalia went on to say—in a statement reminiscent of Baudelaire and The Usual Suspects—that the Devil is actively engaged in “getting people not to believe in him or in God. He’s much more successful that way.” Many, like Scalia’s interviewer, were surprised by his boldness. But the feisty and controversial Justice is on sure footing when he says that this is “standard Catholic doctrine.
The left today shouldn’t look to John F. Kennedy as a liberal pioneer. James L. Swanson and Michael F. Bishop on what the assassinated president really stood for.
Peter Beinart, in “The Rise of the New New Left,” makes a number of interesting and gloomy observations about voting patterns among millennials. But in the course of an otherwise enlightening article, he misrepresents the legacy of one of the most popular American presidents.In a discussion of “political generations” inspired by the work of the sociologist Karl Mannheim, Beinart asserts: “If you are in your late 50s, you are probably too young to remember the high tide of Kennedy-Johnson big government liberalism.
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