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Silver collector coin honours literary icon Alice Munro's Nobel Prize win

Canadian author Alice Munro’s stature as a literary icon has been commemorated in a limited-edition silver coin from the Royal Canadian Mint that honours her 2013 Nobel Prize win.

The $5 coin, unveiled Monday in Victoria, features an open book containing a passage from Munro’s 2006 work The View from Castle Rock. The outline of a woman emerges from a pen that is held to the page and a laurel branch, representing the Nobel Prize, is also featured.

The book inscription, chosen by Munro herself, reads: “And in one of these houses — I can’t remember whose — a magic doorstop, a big mother-of-pearl seashell that I recognized as a messenger from near and far, because I could hold it to my ear — when nobody was there to stop me — and discover the tremendous pounding of my own blood, and of the sea.”

The mint said it is also donating $10,000 to the Writers’ Trust of Canada, an organization that supports writers, in Munro’s name.

“We were all so proud and pleased when (Munro) won the Nobel Prize, and having her have this coin unveiled today is another beautiful acknowledgment of what she means to Canadian literature,” Mary Osborne, executive director of the writers’ trust, said in an interview.

“For her to choose the writer’s trust as the recipient for the charitable proceeds is really a nice endorsement for an organization that’s working to further the careers of writers in Canada.”

During Monday’s ceremony, Munro, 82, read a brief excerpt from “The View from Castle Rock,” a book of short stories. While Munro has a “long-standing relationship” with the Writers’ Trust of Canada, Osborne said Monday was the first time she had met the short story master.

“We had a delightful conversation that to me captured some of the personality that you see in her stories,” Osborne said, chuckling. “There’s sweetness and then a little bit of wicked humour and she’s just a delightful person.”

The mint will produce only 7,500 of the coins, which will sell for $69.95 each.

Munro won the Nobel Prize in Literature last year.

She is the first Canadian author and only the 13th woman to receive the distinction.

Munro, who is from southwestern Ontario, has previously won the Man Booker International Prize for her entire body of work, two Scotiabank Giller Prizes, and three Governor General’s Literary Awards, among others.