Alice Munro biography

Author Biography  | Interview  | Books by this Author  | Readalikes

Alice Munro

Alice Munro

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, British Columbia.

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 was 37. 

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 languages.


Bibliography

  • 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)

About This Biography
This biography was last updated on 01/07/2013. We try to keep BookBrowse's biographies both up to date and accurate, but with over 2500 lives to keep track of it's inevitable that some won't be as current or as complete as we would like. So, please help us - if the information about a particular author is out of date, inaccurate or simply very short, and you know of a more complete source, please let us know. Authors and those connected with authors: If you wish to make changes to your bio, send your complete biography as you would like it displayed so that we can replace the old with the new.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Interview

A Conversation with Alice Munro

What draws you to short stories as opposed to novels? What do you find that the shorter form enables you to do that a novel perhaps would not?
I seem to turn out stories that violate the discipline of the short story form and don't obey the rules of progression for novels. I don't think about a particular form, I think more about fiction, let's say a chunk of fiction. What do I want to do? I want to tell a story, in the old-fashioned way--what happens to somebody--but I want that 'what happens' to be delivered with quite a bit of interruption, turnarounds, and strangeness. I want the reader to feel something is astonishing--not the 'what happens' but the way everything happens. These long short story fictions do that best, for me.

Where do you get the idea for a story or for a particular character?
Sometimes I get the start of a story from a memory, an anecdote, but that gets lost and is usually unrecognizable in the final story. Suppose you have--in memory--a young woman stepping off a train in an outfit so elegant her family is compelled to take her down a peg (as happened to me once), and it somehow becomes a wife who's been recovering from a ...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Books by this Author

Books by Alice Munro at BookBrowse
Family Furnishings jacket Dear Life jacket Too Much Happiness jacket The View from Castle Rock jacket
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Readalikes

All the books below are recommended as readalikes for Alice Munro but some maybe more relevant to you than others depending on which books by the author you have read and enjoyed. So look for the suggested read-alikes by title linked on the right.
How we choose readalikes

  • Elizabeth Berg

    Elizabeth Berg

    Elizabeth Berg was born in St. Paul, Minnesota on December 2, 1948.

    Before Berg became a writer, she was a registered nurse for ten years, and that was her "school" for writing—taking care of patients taught her a lot ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    The View from Castle Rock

    Try:
    Open House
    by Elizabeth Berg

  • Megan Mayhew Bergman

    Megan Mayhew Bergman

    Megan Mayhew Bergman grew up in Rocky Mount, North Carolina and attended Wake Forest University. She has graduate degrees from Duke University and Bennington College. Her stories have appeared in the 2010 New Stories from the... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    Too Much Happiness

    Try:
    Birds of a Lesser Paradise
    by Megan Mayhew Bergman

We recommend 39 similar authors

View all 39 Readalikes

Non-members can see 2 results. Become a member
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

One-Month Free Membership

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: All the Ugly and Wonderful Things
    All the Ugly and Wonderful Things
    by Bryn Greenwood
    Bryn Greenwood's debut, All the Ugly and Wonderful Things, is a harsh, raw, and ultimately, truthful...
  • Book Jacket: Hot Milk
    Hot Milk
    by Deborah Levy
    When people reach their early 20s, they often choose to go abroad – they want to get away from...
  • Book Jacket: Ninety-Nine Stories of God
    Ninety-Nine Stories of God
    by Joy Williams
    I have to preface this review by saying that I am not a fan of religious fiction - not even books ...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Ashes of Fiery Weather
    by Kathleen Donohoe

    "Admirers of Pete Hamill and Kate Atkinson will appreciate this gripping novel." - Library Journal

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Underground Airlines
    by Ben Winters

    "The Invisible Man meets Blade Runner in this outstanding alternate history thriller." - PW Star

    Read Member Reviews

Book Discussions
Book Jacket
Circling the Sun
by Paula McLain

An intoxicatingly vivid portrait of colonial Kenya and its privileged inhabitants.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win this book!
Win Lady Cop Makes Trouble

The Kopp Sisters Return!

One of the nation's first female deputy sheriffs returns in another gripping adventure based on fact.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

Manners M (T) M

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
X

Free Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with what's happening in the world of books:
Reviews, previews, interviews and more!



Spam Free: Your email is never shared with anyone; opt out any time.