Alice Munro Biography
Alice Munro was born in 1931 in Wingham, a small town in southwestern
Ontario, to a family of small farmers. She began writing stories at the age of
12. She won a two-year scholarship to the University of Western Ontario.
While at school she published several short stories in the student literary
magazine. She left before graduating due to money troubles, and in order
to marry another student, James Munro. The Munros raised three daughters and for
several years ran a bookshop in Victoria; they eventually divorced and Alice
Munro married Gerald Fremlin, a geographer. The Fremlins divide their time
between Clinton, Ontario--not far from Munro's hometown of Wingham--and Comox,
She says that the turning point for her writing came in 1959 when she wrote "The
Peace of Utrecht", a story about her mother becoming ill from Parkinson's when Munro was
12. Exploring her personal pain helped her develop a deeper, more
reflective style in her writing.
Her first collection, Dances of the Happy Shades, was published in 1968 when she
In a 2001 interview Munro commented on how age has changed her perspective:
"When I was thirty, if I'd tried to write about someone dying of cancer, I would
have been overwhelmed by the tragedy of it. Just growing older has an effect.
It's the simple experience of where I am in life."
She is the three-time winner of the Governor General's Literary Award, Canada's highest;
the Lannan Literary Award; and the W. H. Smith Award, given to Open Secrets as
the best book published in the United Kingdom in 1995. Her stories have appeared
in The New Yorker, the Atlantic Monthly, The Paris Review,
and other publications, and her collections have been translated into thirteen
- Dance of the Happy Shades (1968)
- Lives of Girls and Women (1971)
- Something I've Been Meaning to Tell You (1974)
- Who Do You Think You Are? (1978)
- The Moons of Jupiter: Stories (1982)
- The Progress of Love (1986)
- Friend Of My Youth (1990)
- Open Secrets (1994)
- Selected Stories (1996)
- The Love Of A Good Woman (1998)
- Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage (2001)
- Runaway (2004)
- Carried Away (2006)
- The View From Castle Rock (2006)
- Too Much Happiness (2009)
This biography was last updated on 11/18/2009.
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