Canada's Alice Munro -- called the "master of the contemporary short story" -- won the 2013 Nobel Prize in literature, the Swedish Royal Academy of Sciences announced Thursday.
The prize committee compared the 82-year-old author to Anton Chekhov, the 19th century Russian who is considered one of the greatest short story writers in history.
She's the first Canadian-based writer to win the literature award. Saul Bellow, who won it in 1976, was born in Quebec but moved to the United States as a child and is regarded as a U.S. author.
Munro is the 13th woman to receive the literature prize.
"On behalf of all Canadians," Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said in a tweet, "congratulations to Alice Munro."
After the prestigious award was announced, the Nobel committee said on Twitter that it hadn't been able to contact Munro and left a phone message to tell her the good news. But The Canadian Press contacted her, and she was quoted as saying the award was "quite wonderful" and she was "terribly surprised."
"I knew I was in the running, yes, but I never thought I would win," she said, according to a Toronto Star story quoting The Canadian Press