Renowned writer Alice Munro was freshly honoured today, with the Royal Canadian Mint unveiling a special coin to celebrate her Nobel Prize in Literature win last fall in addition to her wider literary achievements.
The ceremony was held at the Greater Victoria Public Library. The short story maven, who is based in Victoria, joined Royal Canadian Mint COO Beverley Lepine, library CEO Maureen Sawa and others at the event.
Munro, 82, is being honoured with a new, 99.99 per cent pure silver collector coin designed by Canadian artist Laurie McGaw. The coin has a limited mintage of 7,500 and will retail for $69.95.
In conjunction with the Munro coin release, the Royal Canadian Mint is donating $10,000 to the Writers’ Trust of Canada, which supports authors across the country.
The coin bears the figure of a woman emerging from a pen and overlooking an open book inscribed with a passage — selected by Munro — from the tale Messenger, from her short story collection The View from Castle Rock.
"A coin can be precious for many reasons," Sawa said in her opening remarks.
"The singular stories of Alice Munro are more precious than any coin."
Famous figures honoured on Royal Canadian Mint coins and medallions have included inventor Alexander Graham Bell and athletes such as Mario Lemieux, Wayne Gretzky and Olympian Cindy Klassen. Fictional characters such as Anne of Green Gables and Superman (co-created by Canadian Joe Shuster) have also made it onto coins.
Meanwhile, designs by a range of artists — from illustrator Gary Taxali to Inuit artist Joannassie Nowkawalk to naturalist and painter Robert Bateman — have been featured on Canadian coins.
In October, Munro became the latest laureate of the Nobel Prize in Literature, becoming only the 13th woman to take the award since its launch in 1901 and only the second Canadian recipient.
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The Swedish Academy, which administers the Nobel Prizes, hailed Munro as the "master of the contemporary short story."
Originally from Wingham in southwestern Ontario, Munro has also been dubbed Canada's Chekhov. Her stories are striking portraits — most often of women living in small towns — and revolve around epiphanies encountered by her characters, often when current events illuminate something that happened in the past.
Her other honours have included the Governor General's Award, the Giller Prize and the Man Booker International Prize.
Citing poor health, Munro sent her daughter Jenny to Stockholm to accept the Nobel Prize on her behalf in December.