Remembering Alice Munro: Revolutionary Writer & Nobel Prize Winner

In a huge loss for the literary world, short story writer and Nobel Prize winner Alice Munro passed away at 92. She has been recognised worldwide for her contributions to world literature and for popularising Canadian short stories.

Shreya Mariam Vimal
New Update
Image Source : Getty Images (Paul Stephen Pearson)

Image Source : Getty Images (Paul Stephen Pearson)

Revolutionary Canadian short story writer Alice Munro, who won the Nobel Prize in literature in 2014 passed away on the 13th of May at a care home in Ontario. Her works have been deemed to be complex and illuminary, and she has been published in the New Yorker, Harper's Magazine, The Atlantic and The Paris Review. Here is a look at her life and career. 


Alice Munro's Life And Legacy 

Alice Munro was born to poultry farmer Robert Laidlow and schoolteacher Anne Laidlaw in 1931. She had a penchant for writing since her childhood, publishing her first short story while in college studying English and Journalism at the University of Western Ontario. She would soon marry her classmate John Munro and move to West Vancouver, where John had a secretarial job lined up.

Alice would write when the dullness of suburban life caught up to her but could only bring herself up to write short stories. In her own words, she was "big on naps". But by 1968, she had written enough to warrant a small collection, and so she whipped up some of her best stories to be published as "Dance Of The Happy Shades", her critically acclaimed first book. The New York Times hailed the book as evidence that short stories are "alive and well" in Canada. 

Her second short story collection in 1979 was short-listed for the Booker Prize For Fiction in 1980, establishing her as a behemoth of a writer. Since 1979, she has been writing consistently, putting out new work every four years. Over the years, the quality of her work has evolved in surprising ways. Munro has been known for her simplistic stories and seemingly dull settings with a wealth of complexity and nuance. 

As she grew older, she covered ideas that reflected her changing worldview; she wrote about sexuality, desire, love and other topics with deeply personal undertones. Her first short story for the New Yorker, "Royal Beatings", was based on her father beating her in her childhood. When she admitted to having cancer in 2009, she announced it by publishing a collection about illness a year before. She told the Guardian in 2013 that "she has been writing personal stories all my life". Her last collection came out in 2012, shortly after which she was diagnosed with dementia. 

Several writers and artists have come out to pay their respects to the late literary icon, including authors Curtis Sittenfeld, Heather O'Neill, and Rumaan Alam. "Munro will sure be read. As long as readers need to travel into their daily selves they will read Munro." said The Wire in the obituary. 

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