Jonetta (Ejaygirl) edited the overview of Alice Munro Sunday, September 16, 2012.
Source: British Council
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. 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.
Her latest book is Away From Her (2007). In 2009 she was the winner of the Man Booker International Prize.