Canadian author Alice Munro won the Nobel Prize for Literature.

The Nobel committee called her the "master of the short story" when announcing 1.25 million dollar prize.

(SOUNDBITE) (Swedish) PERMANENT SECRETARY OF THE SWEDISH ACADEMY, PETER ENGLUND, SAYING:

"I can tell you that yes, it is a woman. Before I start to read from my little paper, I want you to be alert because the citation is very short. The Nobel prize in literature 2013 is awarded the Canadian author Alice Munro - master of the contemporary short story."

The Swedish academy awarded the prize for what they said were Munro's tales of struggle, love and tragedy among women in small-town Canada.

(SOUNDBITE) (Swedish) PERMANENT SECRETARY OF THE SWEDISH ACADEMY, PETER ENGLUND, SAYING:

"She is an absolutely excellent author and not just in a technical sense. She has a power of observation that is almost uncanny."

Munro spoke with Canada's CBC Television by phone after the announcement.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) ALICE MUNRO, AUTHOR AND NOBEL PRIZE WINNER FOR LITERATURE, SAYING:

"I would really hope that this would make people see the short story as an important art, not just something that you played around with until you got a novel written."

The 82-year-old announced her retirement from writing this year and said winning the prize wouldn't change her decision.