Alice Munro won the Nobel Prize in Literature on Thursday, where the award-giving committee called her the "master of the contemporary short story".
The short story is a genre that has only rarely been recognised by the Nobel committee.
In a year with no clear favourites, Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami appeared to be the front-runner to win the coveted prize.
Murakami, known across the globe for works such as Norwegian Wood and 1Q84, headed the list at bookmaker Ladbrokes with 5/2 odds. Munro had 4/1 odds and American Joyce Carol Oates 8/1 odds.
"Some critics consider her [Munro] a Canadian Chekhov," the Swedish Academy said in statement on its website as it awarded the prize of $1.25-million.
Munro (82) started writing stories in her teens. She is mainly known for her short stories and has published many collections over the years.
Her works include The View from Castle Rock in 2006 and Too Much Happiness three years later.
"Her texts often feature depictions of everyday but decisive events, epiphanies of a kind, that illuminate the surrounding story and let existential questions appear in a flash of lightning," the academy said.
Munro lives in Clinton, not far from her childhood home in southwestern Ontario, Canada.
In 2009, she revealed that she had undergone coronary bypass surgery and been treated for cancer.
She is known to be averse to publicity and rarely gives interviews.
The literature prize is the fourth of this year's crop of prizes, which were established in the will of Swedish dynamite inventor Alfred Nobel and awarded for the first time in 1901.
A total of 195 authors were nominated, including 48 first timers. – Reuters