Canadian short story writer Alice Munro has emerged victorious from a clash of the world's literary giants to win the £60,000 Man Booker International prize.
The 77-year-old writer, whose win places her still higher on her ascent to what fellow Canadian Margaret Atwood last year described as an elevation to "international literary sainthood", was picked from a line-up of towering international talent that pitted Peruvian writer Mario Vargas Llosa against the Nobel laureate VS Naipaul, Australia's Peter Carey and the UK's contender, the Booker prize-winning Scottish author James Kelman. Judge Jane Smiley, the Pulitzer prize-winning American novelist, admitted that selecting a winner from the 14 longlisted authors - who are assessed on their bodies of work and the contribution they have made to "fiction on the world stage" - had been a challenge, but that Munro "just won us over".
"Her work is practically perfect. Any writer has to gawk when reading her because her work is very subtle and precise," said Smiley. "Her thoughtfulness about every subject is so concentrated."