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About Alice Ann Munro (Laidlaw), Nobel Prize in Literature, 2013
Alice Ann Munro (née Laidlaw; born 10 July 1931) is a Canadian author. The recipient of the 2013 Nobel Prize in Literature 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. 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."
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 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. 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. 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.
On 10 October 2013, Munro was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, being cited as "master of the contemporary short story". Munro is the first Canadian winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature, and the 13th woman to have won the award in its history.
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. 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, and later to a house in Clinton, where Fremlin died in April 2013.
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 (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.
- 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
Alice Munro, Nobel Prize in Literature, 2013's Timeline
July 10, 1931
Wingham, Huron County, ON, Canada