Alice Munro, a long-time Canadian literary icon, won the Nobel Prize for literature last week, becoming only the 13th woman and very first Canadian citizen to do so in the award’s 112-year history.
As a result, her books have become among the most popular at NWT Centennial Library in Hay River.
While the two accomplishments can hardly compare, it is worth noting that part of what makes Munro’s win all the more exciting is that she has been recognized with the highest literary prize in the world for writing about life in rural Canadian towns.
It is also notable that she was honoured for writing short stories, not novels.
“As you can see, the display is pretty empty,” said Jessica Mandeville, a worker at NWT Centennial Library.
In fact, all but two of the eight titles on the shelf were missing on Oct. 13.
Mandeville said she believed Munro winning the high-profile prize influenced people to come into the library to look for one of her books, possibly for the first time. She also said it might make it easier for readers to engage with the material once they start reading.
“As soon as you hear someone has won a prize, it makes you want to check it out,” she said. “Hopefully, we’ll have enough copies.”
Swedish-Canadian Lottie Ericson said that, while she had not read any books by Munro yet, she planned to start right away, the Nobel nod having galvanized her into action, as well.
“Of course, the prize makes people more interested in reading them,” she said. “It’s fabulous publicity.”
Ericson first heard about Munro while in Sweden and said the author was well-respected there years ago.
“I feel very proud,” she said. “It’s really neat being part of two countries because I have a chance to feel proud when things happen in both Sweden and Canada. It’s great that a Canadian woman has won something so prestigious, and we should all be very proud.”
— Sarah Ladik