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Bret Easton Ellis declares Alice Munro ‘overrated’ and the Nobel Prize ‘a joke’

KOLLEY1.090399C Picture taken on March 9/99 Bret Easton Ellis, controversial U.S. novelist. He's the author of American Psycho. Photo by Tibor Kolley/Globe and Mail

Tibor Kolley/The Globe and Mail

The literary world is over the moon at the decision to award Canadian author Alice Munro the 2013 Nobel Prize in Literature, with accolades flowing in from such A-list authors as A.S. Byatt, Jeffrey Eugenides and Margaret Atwood.

And then there's Bret Easton Ellis.

As reported by The Independent, the American Psycho author took to Twitter on Friday morning to inform the world that he's not the least bit impressed by Munro winning the prestigious honour.

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"Alice Munro is so completely overrated," tweeted Ellis, 49. "Alice Munro was always an overrated writer and now that she's won the Nobel she always will be. The Nobel is a joke and has been for ages."

So much for collegiality among the literary set.

So far, the only person in agreement with Ellis's snarky assessment has been the writer Christian Lorentzen, who wrote a highly critical review of Munro's most recent short-story collection, Dear Life, for the London Review of Books.

A sample passage from Lorentzen's withering review: "Over a career now in its sixth decade, she's rehearsed the same themes again and again, but that's because she's a master of variation. She has preternatural powers of sympathy and empathy, but she's never sentimental."

On Friday, Lorentzen responded via Twitter to Ellis's dismissal of Munro with the comment, "Amen," and claimed that Munro's Nobel win put him on the right side of a wager. "The only thing I won was a bet," tweeted Lorentzen.

It's unlikely many literary-watchers are too surprised by Ellis taking a shot at the 82-year-old Munro. In recent years, Ellis has gone out of his way to become the great contrarian. Last year, he went on Twitter to tell his followers that rival author David Foster Wallace was "the most tedious, overrated, tortured, pretentious writer of my generation."

More recently, Ellis declared the well-received sci-fi thriller Gravity as "totally boring."

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On the flipside, Ellis has publicly stated his belief that the blind early-round auditions of The Voice are "probably the most emotionally stirring and suspenseful episodes on television right now."

To recap: Bret Easton Ellis believes Munro is unworthy of acclaim, but really admires a reality TV singing competition starring Christina Aguilera?

Let's consider the source.

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