The early-morning phone call usually precedes either really good news or really bad news.
For Comox Valley resident Ann MacDonald, it was really good news — but not for her.
Rather, the congratulatory phone call was for Canadian author and newly minted Nobel Prize for Literature winner Alice Munro.
MacDonald rents Munro’s Comox Valley condo, and the 5 a.m. phone call Thursday was Munro’s publisher, wanting to pass along congratulations to the author.
“I ignored the phone the first time it rang … but my curiosity got the better of me the second time and I stomped down the hall expecting to hear that I had won a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Disneyworld,” said MacDonald, who is also a writer.
“The voice on the end asked for Alice, and then proceeded to tell me he wanted to congratulate her. I knew immediately it meant she had won the Nobel Prize for literature.”
MacDonald has been renting the condo from the Ontario-based short story author since August, and explained Munro and her husband escaped the snow and cold temperatures by spending winters in the Comox condo.
Since her husband passed away earlier this year, Munro was not planning on using the condo this winter, and rented it to MacDonald.
The 82-year-old Munro, who has family living on the West Coast, is the first Canadian to win the prestigious award. Saul Bellow, who was born in Quebec, won in 1976 as an American citizen.
MacDonald, who has a novel which is ready to be published, admitted she restrained herself from telling Munro’s publisher about her book.
“I did not tell him about my novel, oh-so-ready to be published. I did not offer, or beg even, for him to read it. No, instead I pulled out my reading glasses, found my cell phone, then hunted down my magnifying glass to read out to him Munro’s daughter’s phone number in Victoria.”
“All of this at 5 a.m., when I could have simply said Alice doesn’t live here anymore,” she added.
Munro joins an illustrious list of Nobel laureates in literature, including Rudyard Kipling, T.S. Eliot and Ernest Hemingway.