ALICE MUNRO Biography - Writers


Biography » writers » alice munro


Canadian writer Alice Munro grew up in Wingham, South West Ontario and has             
written short fiction since 1950. Her books consist of collections of short             
stories, and one book which has been published as a novel, although it is               
actually a set of inter-linked stories which falls between the two genres. Her         
accessible, moving stories are set in her native Canada, in small, provincial           
towns like the one in which she grew up, and explore human relationships through       
ordinary everyday events. Although not necessarily directly autobiographical,           
they reflect the author's own life experiences, are concerned with women's lives       
and are 'probably unrivalled in their fullness' (Washington Post 1998)                 
Born in 1931 to a farming family, Alice Munro won a scholarship to the                 
University of Western Ontario, where she studied from 1949-1951, but left before       
graduating, and moved to Vancouver. From 1963 she ran a bookshop in Victoria,           
British Columbia for several years, before returning to Ontario in 1972. She now       
lives in Comox, British Columbia and Clinton, Ontario.                                 
Her first short story was published in Folio, a student literary magazine, in           
1950. During the 1950s and '60s her stories were also accepted for broadcast by         
CBC and for publication in various journals. Since then many more short stories         
have been published regularly in prestigious periodicals such as The New Yorker,       
The Paris Review, and Atlantic Monthly. Fifteen of her earliest stories, many of       
which have autobiographical elements, were collected in her book, Dance of the         
Happy Shades (1974). It was first published in Canada and won the 1968 Governor         
General's Literary Award for Fiction, a success she later repeated with further         
collections Who Do You think You Are? (1978) and The Progress of Love (1986).           
Lives of Girls and Women (1973) was intended as a novel, and published as one,         
but is in fact a collection of interlinked stories. In this book, the narrator         
Del Jordan explains what she hopes to achieve in writing a work of fiction about       
small-town life in Ontario. It won a Canadian Booksellers Association Award. Who       
Do You Think You Are? (1978) chronicles the life of a young woman, Rose, growing       
up in rural Ontario, the theme of identity being central to the book, and was           
shortlisted for the 1980 Booker Prize for Fiction.                                     
During 1977-1981, Alice Munro travelled widely, visiting Australia and China. In       
1983, The Moons of Jupiter was published, containing stories also set in               
Australia and New Brunswick. This was followed by Friend of My Youth (1990),           
which has an interest in adultery and relationships, and Open Secrets: Stories (1994), 
winner of the 1995 WH Smith Literary Award, which contains longer stories, as           
does The Love of a Good Woman (1998).                                                   
Alice Munro has also written television scripts. A Selected Stories appeared in         
1996, and her most recent collections are Runaway (2005), which won the 2005           
Commonwealth Writers Prize (Africa Region, Best Book), and The View from Castle         
Rock (2006). A further selection of her short stories, Carried Away, was also           
published in 2006.