Canada's Alice Munro was awarded the Nobel Prize in literature on Thursday by the Swedish Royal Academy of Sciences, which hailed her as a "master of the contemporary short story."

Munro is acclaimed for her "finely tuned storytelling, which is characterized by clarity and psychological realism," the prize committee said in its announcement.

Regarded by some critics as the "Canadian Chekhov," the 82-year-old author from North Huron, a town in southern Ontario, is best known for short stories that have been gathered into several compilations in recent years.

Munro, who studied English and journalism at university but dropped out of school to marry her first husband in 1951, wrote her earliest stories as a teenager although her first collection, "Dance of the Happy Shades," was not published until 1968.

Her works are typically set in small towns in Huron County, Ontario, "where the struggle for a socially acceptable existence often results in strained relationships and moral conflicts - problems that stem from generational differences and colliding life ambitions," the committee said.

Recipients of the Nobel Prize in literature take home a cash prize of 8 million Swedish kronor ($1.3 million).

The winners of the Nobel Prizes in medicine, physics and chemistry were announced earlier this week, while the recipients of the awards for peace and economics will be unveiled Friday and Monday, respectively.

The Nobel Peace Prize will be handed out on Dec. 10 in Oslo, while the remaining winners will receive their awards that same day at a parallel ceremony in Stockholm. EFE