Putting authors on currency is not a new thing. Benjamin Franklin, a founding father and author of “Poor Richard’s Almanac,” is on the U.S. $100 bill, and in Chile the Nobel laureate and poet Gabriela Mistral graces the 5,000 peso bill, which is worth about $10. And Jane Austen will soon grace Britain’s 10-pound note.
But honoring a living writer on a bill or coin is relatively rare.
Alice Munro, 82, who last year won the Nobel Prize for Literature, was actually at the ceremony on Monday in Victoria, Canada, (where she once owned a bookstore) where the Royal Canadian Mint unveiled the new, commemorative Canadian $5 coin being issued in her honor.
The coin shows a woman holding a book that’s open to a page with a passage Munro chose herself from her book “The View from Castle Rock,” Canadian media report.
“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.”
This being Canada, the passage also appears in French.
The mint 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, told Canadian television in an interview
The Royal Canadian Mint will issue 7,500 copies of the coin, which will retail for about $63.