|Born||Alice Ann Laidlaw
10 July 1931
Wingham, Ontario, Canada
Alice Ann Munro (née Laidlaw; born 10 July 1931) is a Canadian author and poet. The winner of the 2009 Man Booker International Prize for her lifetime body of work, she is also a three-time winner of Canada's Governor General's Award for fiction, and a perennial contender for the Nobel Prize. The locus of Munro’s fiction is her native southwestern Ontario. Her "accessible, moving stories" explore human complexities in a seemingly effortless style. Munro's writing has established her as "one of our greatest contemporary writers of fiction," or, as Cynthia Ozick put it, "our Chekhov."
Life and career 
Munro was born in the town of Wingham, Ontario. Her father, Robert Eric Laidlaw, was a fox and poultry farmer, and her mother, Anne Clarke Laidlaw (née Chamney), was a schoolteacher. Munro began writing as a teenager, publishing her first story, "The Dimensions of a Shadow," in 1950 while a student at the University of Western Ontario. During this period she worked as a waitress, a tobacco picker, and a library clerk. In 1951, she left the university, where she had been majoring in English since 1949, to marry James Munro and move to Vancouver, British Columbia. Her daughters Sheila, Catherine, and Jenny were born in 1953, 1955, and 1957 respectively; Catherine died 15 hours after birth. In 1963, the Munros moved to Victoria where they opened Munro's Books, a popular bookstore still in business. In 1966, their daughter Andrea was born. Alice and James Munro were divorced in 1972. She returned to Ontario to become Writer-in-Residence at the University of Western Ontario. In 1976 she married Gerald Fremlin, a geographer. The couple moved to a farm outside Clinton, Ontario. They have since moved from the farm to a house in the town of Clinton.
Alice Munro's highly acclaimed first collection of stories, Dance of the Happy Shades (1968), won the Governor General's Award, Canada’s highest literary prize. That success was followed by Lives of Girls and Women (1971), a collection of interlinked stories published as a novel. In 1978, Munro's collection of interlinked stories Who Do You Think You Are? was published (titled The Beggar Maid: Stories of Flo and Rose in the United States). This book earned Munro a second Governor General’s Literary Award. From 1979 to 1982, she toured Australia, China and Scandinavia. In 1980 Munro held the position of Writer-in-Residence at both the University of British Columbia and the University of Queensland. Through the 1980s and 1990s, she published a short-story collection about once every four years. In 2002, her daughter Sheila Munro published a childhood memoir, Lives of Mothers and Daughters: Growing Up With Alice Munro.
Alice Munro's stories frequently appear in publications such as The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, Grand Street, Mademoiselle, and The Paris Review. In interviews to promote her 2006 collection The View from Castle Rock, Munro suggested that she might not publish any further collections. She has since recanted and published further work. Her collection, Too Much Happiness, was published in August 2009. Her story "The Bear Came Over the Mountain" was adapted for the screen and directed by Sarah Polley as the film Away from Her, starring Julie Christie and Gordon Pinsent. It debuted at the 2006 Toronto International Film Festival. Polley's adaptation was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay, but lost to No Country for Old Men.
At a Toronto appearance in October 2009, Munro indicated that she received treatment for cancer and a heart condition, the latter requiring bypass surgery. At that time, she indicated that her next work would involve a theme of sexual ambivalence.
Writing style 
Many of Munro's stories are set in Huron County, Ontario. Her strong regional focus is one of the features of her fiction. Another is the omniscient narrator who serves to make sense of the world. Many compare Munro's small-town settings to writers of the U.S. rural South. Her female characters, though, are more complex. Much of Munro's work exemplifies the literary genre known as Southern Ontario Gothic.
Munro's work is often compared with the great short story writers. In Munro stories, as in Chekhov's, plot is secondary and "little happens." As with Chekhov, Garan Holcombe notes: "All is based on the epiphanic moment, the sudden enlightenment, the concise, subtle, revelatory detail." Munro's work deals with "love and work, and the failings of both. She shares Chekhov’s obsession with time and our much-lamented inability to delay or prevent its relentless movement forward."
A frequent theme of her work—particularly evident in her early stories—has been the dilemmas of a girl coming of age and coming to terms with her family and the small town she grew up in. In recent work such as Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage (2001) and Runaway (2004) she has shifted her focus to the travails of middle age, of women alone and of the elderly. It is a mark of her style for characters to experience a revelation that sheds light on, and gives meaning to, an event.
Munro's prose reveals the ambiguities of life: "ironic and serious at the same time," "mottoes of godliness and honor and flaming bigotry," "special, useless knowledge," "tones of shrill and happy outrage," "the bad taste, the heartlessness, the joy of it." Her style places the fantastic next to the ordinary with each undercutting the other in ways that simply, and effortlessly, evoke life. As Robert Thacker notes: "Munro's writing creates ... an empathetic union among readers, critics most apparent among them. We are drawn to her writing by its verisimilitude—not of mimesis, so-called and... 'realism'—but rather the feeling of being itself... of just being a human being." Many critics have asserted that Munro's stories often have the emotional and literary depth of novels. The question of whether Munro actually writes short-stories or novels has often been asked. Alex Keegan, writing in Eclectica, has a simple answer: "Who cares? In most Munro stories there is as much as in many novels."
Original short story collections 
- Dance of the Happy Shades – 1968 (winner of the 1968 Governor General's Award for Fiction)
- Something I've Been Meaning to Tell You – 1974
- Who Do You Think You Are? – 1978 (winner of the 1978 Governor General's Award for Fiction; also published as The Beggar Maid)
- The Moons of Jupiter – 1982 (nominated for a Governor General's Award)
- The Progress of Love – 1986 (winner of the 1986 Governor General's Award for Fiction)
- Friend of My Youth – 1990 (winner of the Trillium Book Award)
- Open Secrets – 1994 (nominated for a Governor General's Award)
- The Love of a Good Woman – 1998 (winner of the 1998 Giller Prize)
- Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage - 2001 (recently republished as "Away From Her")
- Runaway – 2004 (winner of the 2004 Giller Prize) ISBN 1-4000-4281-X
- The View from Castle Rock – 2006
- Too Much Happiness – 2009
- Dear Life – 2012
Short story compilations 
- Selected Stories – 1996
- No Love Lost – 2003
- Vintage Munro – 2004
- Carried Away: A Selection of Stories – 2006
- New Selected Stories - 2011
Selected awards and honours 
- Governor General's Award for English-language fiction (Canada) - 1968, 1978, 1986
- Canadian Booksellers Award for Lives Of Girls And Women (1971)
- Shortlisted for the annual (UK) Booker Prize for Fiction (now the Man Booker Prize) (1980) for The Beggar Maid
- Marian Engel Award (1986)
- Trillium Book Award (1990)
- WH Smith Literary Award (1995, UK) for Open Secrets
- PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in Short Fiction (1997)
- National Book Critics Circle Award (1998, U.S.) For The Love of a Good Woman
- Giller Prize (1998 and 2004)
- Rea Award for the Short Story (2001) given to a living American or Canadian author.
- Libris Award
- O. Henry Award for continuing achievement in short fiction in the U.S. for "Passion" (2006) and "What Do You Want To Know For" (2008)
- Man Booker International Prize (2009, UK)
- Canada-Australia Literary Prize
- Commonwealth Writers Prize Regional Award for Canada and the Caribbean.
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- 1992 Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters
- 1993 Royal Society of Canada's Lorne Pierce Medal
- 2005 Medal of Honor for Literature from the U.S. National Arts Club 
- 2010 Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters 
- A Conversation with Alice Munro. Bookbrowse. Retrieved on: 2 June 2009.
- "Alice Munro wins Man Booker International prize". The Guardian. 27 May 2009.
- Marchand, P. (29 August 2009). "Open Book: Philip Marchand on Too Much Happiness, by Alice Munro". The National Post. Retrieved 5 September 2009.
- Meyer, M. "Alice Munro". Meyer Literature. Archived from the original on 12 December 2007. Retrieved 21 November 2007.[dead link]
- Merkin, Daphne (24 October 2004). "Northern Exposures". New York Times Magazine. Retrieved 25 February 2008.
- "Munro ‘amazed' to win Man Booker". The Globe and Mail. 27 May 2009.
- The Canadian Press (22 October 2009). "Alice Munro reveals cancer fight". CBC News. Retrieved 2010-03-11.
- Susanne Becker, Gothic Forms of Feminine Fictions. Manchester University Press, 1999.
- Holcombe, Garan (2005). "Alice Munro". Contemporary Writers. London: British Arts Council. Retrieved 2007-06-20.
- Hoy, Helen (1980). "Dull, Simple, Amazing and Unfathomable: Paradox and Double Vision In Alice Munro's Fiction". Studies in Canadian Literature (University of New Brunswick) 5 (1). Retrieved 2007-06-20.
- Thacker, Robert (1998) Review of Some other reality: Alice Munro's Something I've been Meaning to Tell You, by Louis K. MacKendrick. Journal of Canadian Studies, Summer 1998.
- Keegan, Alex (August/September, 1998). "Munro: The Short Answer". Eclectica 2 (5). Archived from the original on 25 June 2007. Retrieved 2007-06-20.
- The Booker Prize Foundation "Alice Munro wins 2009 Man Booker International Prize."
- Munro wins top U.S. honour. Arts and Entertainment, CBC.ca. Retrieved on 2007-06-22.
- "ARCHIVED — Canada Gazette – GOVERNMENT HOUSE". Gazette.gc.ca. 2012-11-09. Retrieved 2013-05-01.
Further reading 
- Besner, Neil Kalman. Introducing Alice Munro's Lives of Girls and Women: a reader's guide. (Toronto: ECW Press, 1990.)
- Blodgett, E. D. Alice Munro. (Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1988.)
- Carrington, Ildikó de Papp. Controlling the Uncontrollable: the fiction of Alice Munro. (DeKalb: Northern Illinois University Press, 1989.)
- Carscallen, James. The Other Country: patterns in the writing of Alice Munro. (Toronto: ECW Press, 1993.)
- Cox, Alisa. Alice Munro. (Tavistock: Northcote House, 2004.)
- Hallvard, Dahlie. Alice Munro and Her Works. (Toronto: ECW Press, 1984.)
- Hebel, Ajay. The Tumble of Reason: Alice Munro's discourse of absence. (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1994.)
- Hooper, Brad The Fiction of Alice Munro: An Appreciation (Westport, Conn.: Praeger, 2008), ISBN 978-0-275-99121-0
- Howells, Coral Ann. Alice Munro. (New York: Manchester University Press, 1998), ISBN 978-0-7190-4558-5
- MacKendrick, Louis King. Some Other Reality: Alice Munro's Something I've Been Meaning to Tell You. (Toronto: ECW Press, 1993.)
- Martin, W.R. Alice Munro: paradox and parallel. (Edmonton: University of Alberta Press, 1987.)
- Mazur, Carol and Moulder, Cathy. Alice Munro: An Annotated Bibliography of Works and Criticism. (Toronto: Scarecrow Press, 2007.) ISBN 978-0-8108-5924
- McCaig, JoAnn. Reading In: Alice Munro's archives. (Waterloo: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2002.)
- Miller, Judith, ed. The Art of Alice Munro: saying the unsayable: papers from the Waterloo conference. (Waterloo: Waterloo Press, 1984.)
- Munro, Sheila. Lives of Mother and Daughters: growing up with Alice Munro. (Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 2001.)
- Pfaus, B. Alice Munro. (Ottawa: Golden Dog Press, 1984.)
- Rasporich, Beverly Jean. Dance of the Sexes: art and gender in the fiction of Alice Munro. (Edmonton: University of Alberta Press, 1990.)
- Redekop, Magdalene. Mothers and Other Clowns: the stories of Alice Munro. (New York: Routledge, 1992.)
- Ross, Catherine Sheldrick. Alice Munro: a double life. (Toronto: ECW Press, 1992.)
- Smythe, Karen E. Figuring Grief: Gallant, Munro and the poetics of elegy. (Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press, 1992.)
- Steele, Apollonia and Tener, Jean F., editors. The Alice Munro Papers: Second Accession. (Calgary: University of Calgary Press, 1987.)
- Thacker, Robert. Alice Munro: writing her lives: a biography. (Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 2005.)
- Thacker, Robert. Ed. The Rest of the Story: critical essays on Alice Munro. (Toronto: ECW Press, 1999.)
- Awano, Lisa Dickler. "An Interview With Alice Munro." Virginia Quarterly Review 89/2 (Spring 2013):180-184. Interview with Alice Munro about her latest collection of stories, Dear Life, her writing life and loves, and her relationship with her parents.
- Awano, Lisa Dickler. "Kindling The Creative Fire: Alice Munro’s Two Versions of ‘Wood.’" New Haven Review (May 30, 2012). Examining overall themes in Alice Munro’s fiction through a study of her two versions of “Wood.”
- Awano, Lisa Dickler. "The Tremendous Importance of Ordinary Events: An interview with Alice Munro about two versions of 'Wood'," New Haven Review, Issue 009 (Winter 2011): 46-67. Munro discusses her first version of “Wood,” which appeared in The New Yorker in 1980; and her second version, which appears in her collection Too Much Happiness and is reprinted in this NHR issue alongside this interview; and she speaks about the craft of writing.
- Awano, Lisa Dickler. "Appreciations of Alice Munro." Virginia Quarterly Review 82.3 (Summer 2006): 91-107. Interviews with various authors (Margaret Atwood, Russell Banks, Michael Cunningham, Charles McGrath, Daniel Menaker and others) presented in first-person essay format. Munro's story "Home," which appears in her collection The View from Castle Rock, is printed in this VQR issue alongside this interview.
- Awano, Lisa Dickler. "An Interview with Alice Munro." Virginia Quarterly Review (22 October 2010). Interview with Alice Munro about Too Much Happiness and the craft of writing.
- Awano, Lisa Dickler. "Alice Munro's Too Much Happiness." Virginia Quarterly Review (22 October 2010). Long-form book review of Too Much Happiness in the context of Alice Munro's canon.
- Awano, Lisa Dickler. "An Interview with Alice Munro," Virginia Quarterly Review (Summer 2006). Interview with Alice Munro about The View from Castle Rock and the craft of writing.
- de Papp Carrington, Ildiko."What's in a Title?: Alice Munro's 'Carried Away.'" Studies in Short Fiction. 20.4 (Fall 1993): 555.
- Elliott, Gayle. "A Different Track: Feminist meta-narrative in Alice Munro's 'Friend of My Youth.'" Journal of Modern Literature. 20.1 (Summer 1996): 75.
- Fowler, Rowena. "The Art of Alice Munro: The Beggar Maid and Lives of Girls and Women." Critique. 25.4 (Summer 1984): 189.
- Garson, Marjorie. "Alice Munro and Charlotte Bronte." University of Toronto Quarterly. 69.4 (Fall 2000): 783.
- Genoways, Ted. "Ordinary Outsiders." Virginia Quarterly Review 82.3 (Summer 2006): 80-81.
- Gittings, Christopher E.. "Constructing a Scots-Canadian Ground: Family history and cultural translation in Alice Munro." Studies in Short Fiction 34.1 (Winter 1997): 27
- Hiscock, Andrew. "Longing for a Human Climate: Alice Munro's 'Friend of My Youth' and the culture of loss." Journal of Commonwealth Literature 32.2 (1997): 18.
- Houston, Pam. "A Hopeful Sign: The making of metonymic meaning in Munro's 'Meneseteung.'" Kenyon Review 14.4 (Fall 1992): 79.
- Hoy, H. "'Dull, Simple, Amazing and Unfathomable': Paradox and Double Vision In Alice Munro's Fiction." Studies in Canadian Literature/Études en littérature canadienne (SCL/ÉLC), Volume 5.1. (1980).
- Lynch, Gerald. "No Honey, I'm Home." Canadian Literature 160 (Spring 1999): 73.
- Levene, Mark. "It Was About Vanishing: A Glimpse of Alice Munro's Stories." University of Toronto Quarterly 68.4 (Fall 1999): 841.
- Works by or about Alice Munro in libraries (WorldCat catalog)
- British Council Biography of Munro. Retrieved 2010-09-22
- Munro, Alice (132 Summer 1994). The Art of Fiction No. 137. Interview with Jeanne McCulloch. Mona Simpson. The Paris Review. http://www.parisreview.org/viewinterview.php/prmMID/1791. Retrieved 2010-09-22.
- Blodgett, E.D. "Munro, Alice". The Canadian Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2010-09-22.
- A Biocritical Essay of Munro's early work by Thomas E. Tausky (1986) The University of Calgary Library Special Collections.Retrieved 2010-09-22
- A Quiet Genius Review by Mona Simpson (2001) The Atlantic Online. Retrieved 2010-09-22
- An excerpt from Douglas Gibson's book, "Stories About Storytellers," on his experience with Alice Munro.
- "Literarily Speaking with Alice Munro". TV Ontario. 5 April (year unknown). Retrieved 2010-09-22.