Alice Munro – 2013

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.

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.” In 2013, Munro was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature for her work as “master of the modern short story”.[6 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.

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.