|Born||Alice Ann Laidlaw
10 July 1931
Wingham, Ontario, Canada
|Alma mater||The University of Western Ontario|
|Notable award(s)||Governor General's Award (1968, 1978, 1986)
Giller Prize (1998, 2004)
Man Booker International Prize (2009)
Nobel Prize in Literature (2013)
|Spouse(s)||James Munro (1951–1972)
Gerald Fremlin (1976–2013, his death)
Alice Ann Munro[needs IPA] (née Laidlaw[needs IPA]; born 10 July 1931) is a Canadian author writing in English. Munro's work has been described as having revolutionized the architecture of short stories, especially in its tendency to move forward and backward in time. Her stories embed more than announce, reveal more than parade.
Munro's fiction is most often set in her native Huron County in southwestern Ontario. Her stories explore human complexities in an uncomplicated prose style. Munro's writing has established her as "one of our greatest contemporary writers of fiction," or, as Cynthia Ozick put it, "our Chekhov." Awarded the 2013 Nobel Prize in Literature for her work as "master of the contemporary short story", and 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.
- 1 Early life
- 2 Career
- 3 Writing style
- 4 Personal life
- 5 Tribute
- 6 Works
- 7 Impact
- 8 Notes and references
- 9 Further reading
- 10 External links
Munro was born Alice Ann Laidlaw in Wingham, Ontario. Her father, Robert Eric Laidlaw, was a fox and mink 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 studying English and journalism at the University of Western Ontario under a two-year scholarship. 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 fellow student James Munro. They moved to Dundarave, West Vancouver, for James's job in a department store. In 1963, the couple moved to Victoria, where they opened Munro's Books, which still operates.
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 sometimes erroneously described 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.
Munro's stories have appeared frequently in publications such as The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, Grand Street, Mademoiselle, and The Paris Review. Her collections have been translated into thirteen languages. In interviews to promote her 2006 collection The View from Castle Rock, Munro suggested that she might not publish any further collections. She later 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 Away from Her, starring Julie Christie and Gordon Pinsent. It debuted at the 2006 Toronto International Film Festival and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay, but lost to No Country for Old Men.
On 10 October 2013, Munro was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, cited as a "master of the contemporary short story". She is the first Canadian and the 13th woman to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature.
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 from the rural South of the United States. As in the works of William Faulkner and Flannery O'Connor, her characters often confront deep-rooted customs and traditions, but the reaction of Munro's characters is generally less intense than their Southern counterparts'. Her male characters tend to capture the essence of the everyman, while her female characters 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 her 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 has it:
"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. Some have asked whether Munro actually writes short stories or novels. Alex Keegan, writing in Eclectica, gave a simple answer: "Who cares? In most Munro stories there is as much as in many novels."
Munro married James Munro in 1951. Their daughters Sheila, Catherine, and Jenny were born in 1953, 1955, and 1957 respectively; Catherine died 15 hours after birth.
Munro returned to Ontario to become writer in residence at the University of Western Ontario, and in 1976 received an honorary LLD from the institution. In 1976, she married Gerald Fremlin, a cartographer and geographer she met in her university days. The couple moved to a farm outside Clinton, Ontario, and later to a house in Clinton, where Fremlin died on 17 April 2013, aged 88. Munro and Fremlin also owned a home in Comox, British Columbia.
At a Toronto appearance in October 2009, Munro indicated that she had received treatment for cancer and for a heart condition requiring coronary-artery bypass surgery.
In 2002, her daughter Sheila Munro published a childhood memoir, Lives of Mothers and Daughters: Growing Up With Alice Munro.
Original short-story collections
- Dance of the Happy Shades – 1968 (winner of the 1968 Governor General's Award for Fiction)
- Lives of Girls and Women – 1971
- 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 (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
- Selected Stories – 1996
- No Love Lost – 2003
- Vintage Munro – 2004
- Alice Munro's Best: A Selection of Stories – Toronto 2006/ Carried Away: A Selection of Stories – New York 2006; both with an introduction by Margaret Atwood
- New Selected Stories – 2011
Munro is a bestselling author. Research on her work has been undertaken since the early 1970s, with the first PhD thesis published in 1972. The first book-length volume collecting the papers presented at the University of Waterloo first conference on her oeuvre was published in 1984, The Art of Alice Munro: Saying the Unsayable. The Journal of the Short Story in English (JSSE)/Les cahiers de la nouvelle dedicated a special issue to Munro's work in Autumn 2010, and in May 2012 an issue of the journal Narrative focussed on a single story by Munro, "Passion" (2004), publishing 120 pages of analysis.
The following are among the most influential stories dating from the period before 2003. These have been republished in Munro's compilations more than once.
The following stories have been made available for free on the Web. Usually, these are earlier versions of works that came to be revised for collections. Some of the later versions show new endings, name changes, new paragraphs, yet fewer adjectives, less of a narrator's voice and more skepticism. It seems advisable not to mistake the earlier version on the Web for the final one.
Selected awards and honours
- Governor General's Literary Award for English language fiction (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 for Friend of My Youth (1991), The Love of a Good Woman (1999) and Dear Life (2013)
- WH Smith Literary Award (1995, UK) for Open Secrets
- Lannan Literary Award for Fiction (1995)
- 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.
- Nobel Prize in Literature (2013) as "master of the contemporary short story".
- 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
- 2013: Nobel Prize in Literature
Notes and references
- Preface. Dance of the Happy Shades. Alice Munro. First Vintage contemporaries Edition, August 1998. ISBN 0-679-78151-X Vintage Books, A Division of Random House, Inc. New York.
- Alice Munro Wins Nobel Prize in Literature, by Julie Bosmans, The New York Times, 10 October 2013
- W.H. New, Literature in English, thecanadianencyclopedia.com, 2 December 2012, last edited 16 December 2013.
- 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.
- "The Nobel Prize in Literature 2013 – Press Release" (PDF). 10 October 2013. Retrieved 10 October 2013.
- Bosman, Julie (10 October 2013). "Alice Munro Wins Nobel Prize in Literature". New York Times. Retrieved 10 October 2013.
- "Alice Munro wins Man Booker International prize". The Guardian. 27 May 2009.
- Jeanne McCulloch, Mona Simpson "Alice Munro, The Art of Fiction No. 137", The Paris Review No. 131, Summer 1994
- Jason Winders (10 October 2013). "Alice Munro, LLD'76, wins 2013 Nobel Prize in Literature". Western News. The University of Western Ontario.
- "Canada's Alice Munro, 'master' of short stories, wins Nobel Prize in literature". CNN. 10 October 2013. Retrieved 11 October 2013.
- "Past GG Winners 1968". canadacouncil.ca. Retrieved 10 October 2013.
- "Past GG Winners 1978". canadacouncil.ca. Retrieved 10 October 2013.
- "Munro 'amazed' to win Man Booker". The Globe and Mail. 27 May 2009.
- "Alice Munro wins Nobel Prize for Literature". BBC News. 10 October 2013. Retrieved 10 October 2013.
- "The Nobel Prize in Literature 2013 Alice Munro". Nobelprize.org. 10 October 2013. Retrieved 10 October 2013.
- Saul Bellow, the 1976 laureate, was born in Canada, but he moved to the United States at age nine and became a US citizen at twenty-six.
- Susanne Becker, Gothic Forms of Feminine Fictions. Manchester University Press, 1999.
- Holcombe, Garan (2005). "Alice Munro". Contemporary Writers. London: British Arts Council. Retrieved 20 June 2007.
- 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 20 June 2007.
- 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 20 June 2007.
- "Gerald Fremlin (obituary)". Clinton News-Record. April 2013. Retrieved 1 July 2013.
- The Canadian Press (22 October 2009). "Alice Munro reveals cancer fight". CBC News. Retrieved 11 March 2010.
- J.R. (Tim) Struthers, Some Highly Subversive Activities: A Brief Polemic and a Checklist of Works on Alice Munro, in: Studies in Canadian Literature / Études en littérature canadienne (SCL/ÉLC), Volume 06, Number 1 (1981).
- The Art of Alice Munro: Saying the Unsayable (1984) was edited by Judith Miller. Source: Héliane Ventura, Introduction to Special issue: The Short Stories of Alice Munro, Journal of the Short Story in English / Les Cahiers de la nouvelle, No. 55, Autumn 2010.
- List of short stories by Alice Munro
- Read 18 Short Stories From Nobel Prize-Winning Writer Alice Munro Free Online, October 10th, 2013, openculture.com
- „Boys and Girls“ (1968)
- „Queenie“ (1998)
- „The Bear Came Over the Mountain“ (1999)
- „Runaway“ (2003)
- „Passion“ (2004)
- „The View from Castle Rock“ (2005)
- „Wenlock Edge“ (2005)
- „Dimension“ (2006)
- „Face“ (2008)
- „Free Radicals“ (2008)
- „Deep Holes“ (2008)
- „Wood“ (1980? / 2009?)
- „Corrie“ (2010)
- „Dear Life“ (2011)
- „Gravel“ (2011)
- „Train“ (2012)
- „Amundsen“ (2012)
- Trillium Book Award Winners
- The Booker Prize Foundation "Alice Munro wins 2009 Man Booker International Prize."
- "ARCHIVED – Canada Gazette – GOVERNMENT HOUSE". Gazette.gc.ca. 9 November 2012. Retrieved 1 May 2013.
- "The Nobel Prize in Literature 2013". NobelPrize.org.
- 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.)
- Davey, Frank. 'Class, Family Furnishings, and Munro's Early Stories.' In Ventura and Conde. 79–88.
- Gibson, Douglas. Stories About Storytellers: Publishing Alice Munro, Robertson Davies, Alistair MacLeod, Pierre Trudeau, and Others. (ECW Press, 2011.) Excerpt.
- 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
- Lecercle, Jean-Jacques. 'Alice Munro's Two Secrets.' In Ventura and Conde. 25–37.
- 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.)
- Ventura, Héliane, and Mary Condé, eds. Alice Munro. Open Letter 11:9 (Fall-Winter 2003-4). ISSN 0048-1939. Proceedings of the Alice Munro conference L'écriture du secret/Writing Secrets, Université d'Orléans, 2003.
- Atwood, Margaret et al. "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.
- Awano, Lisa Dickler. "Kindling The Creative Fire: Alice Munro's Two Versions of ‘Wood.'" New Haven Review (30 May 2012). Examining overall themes in Alice Munro's fiction through a study of her two versions of "Wood."
- 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.
- Dolnick, Ben. "A Beginner's Guide to Alice Munro" The Millions (5 July 2012)
- 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.
- Simpson, Mona. A Quiet Genius The Atlantic. (December 2001)
- Tausky, Thomas E. Biocritical Essay. The University of Calgary Library Special Collections (1986)
- "Alice Munro, The Art of Fiction No. 137", The Paris Review No. 131, Summer 1994
- "An Interview With Alice Munro." Virginia Quarterly Review 89/2 (Spring 2013):180–184. Interview with Alice Munro about Dear Life, her writing life and loves, and her relationship with her parents.
- "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 she speaks about the craft of writing.
- "An Interview with Alice Munro." Virginia Quarterly Review (22 October 2010). Interview with Alice Munro about Too Much Happiness and the craft of writing.
- "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.
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Alice Munro|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Alice Munro.|
- Works by or about Alice Munro in libraries (WorldCat catalog)
- Alice Munro at the Internet Movie Database
- Alice Munro collected news and commentary at The Guardian
- Alice Munro collected book reviews at The New York Times
- Alice Munro at The Canadian Encyclopedia
- Alice Munro at the British Council Writers Directory
- Stories by Alice Munro accessible online
- Alice Munro's papers (fonds) held at the University of Calgary
- "Literarily Speaking with Alice Munro". TV Ontario. 5 April (year unknown). Retrieved 22 September 2010. [date missing]