Alice Munro Additional Biography


Born on July 10, 1931, in rural southwest Ontario, Canada, in the region east of Lake Huron, Alice Munro and her younger brother and sister were the children of Robert Eric Laidlaw, a farmer, and Anne Chamney Laidlaw, a former elementary school teacher turned homemaker. The family always seemed to be struggling financially. With the failure of his fox-farming business in 1948, Munro’s father became a night watchman in a local foundry and began raising turkeys in 1952. In 1943, when Munro was twelve, her mother began a long decline because of Parkinson’s disease, which led to her death sixteen years later.

Although her mother hoped that her daughter would escape their hometown of Wingham, Ontario, Munro’s future was expected to be that of a farmer’s wife. From the age of nine, however, she wanted to be an author. At fifteen she started writing, spending her school lunch hour composing stories while her classmates, who lived closer to the school, went home to eat. She finished a novel—a romantic, gothic work that later was stored in her father’s basement and eventually thrown out by her stepmother.

In 1949, she received a scholarship that enabled her to attend the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario, where she majored in journalism, a more explainable choice, she thought, than writing. While an undergraduate, she published her first story, “The Dimensions of a Shadow,” in a university journal and sold another to Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) Radio. On December 29, 1951, she married James Munro, a bookseller, left the university, and moved to Vancouver, British Columbia. During the twelve years the couple lived in Vancouver, she cared for the family house and tended to the needs of her two daughters, Sheila, born in 1953, and Jenny, born in 1957. Another daughter, Catherine, was born in 1955 and died shortly after her birth. Writing but discarding much of what she wrote, Munro did sell a few stories each year to small journals, such as the Canadian Forum, Mayfair, Montrealer, and Queen’s Quarterly. In 1963, the family moved to Victoria, British Columbia, where Munro and her husband opened a bookstore, Munro’s Books. Another daughter, Andrea, was born in 1966.

In 1968, at age thirty-seven, Munro published her first collection of short stories, Dance of the Happy Shades. For these stories, Munro drew on the familiar. The characters share traits with her, her family, and her neighbors. The setting—the small towns of southwest Ontario—was the...

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(Masterpieces of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Alice Munro, writing about ordinary people in ordinary situations, creates a portrait of life in all of its complexities. In her richly textured stories, she explores the nuances of relationships, the depths of emotions, and the influence that one’s past has on the present. With a few details, she is able to evoke someone’s personality or an entire geographical region. She is a master at creating a short story that is as fully developed as a novel.


(Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Alice Munro is one of Canada’s best writers of short fiction. She was born to Robert Eric Laidlaw, a fox farmer, and his ailing but ambitious wife, Ann Chamney Laidlaw. In 1949 Munro left her birthplace of Wingham to attend the University of Western Ontario. In 1951 she married James Munro and moved to Vancouver, where she and her husband had two daughters. In 1963 the couple moved to Victoria, British Columbia, and in 1966 they had a third child, another daughter.

From her youth, Munro had been writing stories. Her early efforts were romantic tales, like her first published work, which appeared in a student publication in 1950. Yet she soon turned to short stories, many of which were set in small towns like...

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Born in Wingham, Ontario, on July 10, 1931, Alice Munro published her first story in 1950 while attending Western Ontario University, where she majored in English. Her first collection of short stories, however, Dance of the Happy Shades, was not published for another eighteen years. Munro comments that Wingham and its surroundings play an important part in her stories, both in their literal and emotional landscapes. She says in her Introduction to Selected Stories (1996) that “the ways lives were lived [in Wingham], their values, were very 19th century and things hadn’t changed for a long time. So there was a kind of stability...that a writer could grasp pretty easily.” Marrying in 1951 soon after she left the university, Munro and her husband left Ontario for Victoria where, in 1963, they started their own publishing company, Munro Books. When their marriage ended, she returned to Ontario and remarried in 1976. Munro says she writes every day “unless it’s impossible,” trying to get two to three hours of writing in “before real life hauls” her away. Although some critics have compared her psychological realism to that of Anton Chekhov’s, a comment she considers “a humbling experience,” Munro identifies Eudora Welty and Flannery O’Connor as some of the writers who have most influenced her. In addition to one novel, Munro has published seven collections of short stories, her most recent, Runaway, in 2007. She says that it was always her intention to be a novelist, but as a mother with three children, she never had enough time.


Alice Munro was born in 1931 in the small Canadian farming town of Wingham, in southwestern Ontario. She spent her entire childhood in...

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Alice Munro was born in Ontario in 1931. She grew up on the outskirts of the town of Wingham, in a setting much like Tuppertown, as described...

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Alice Munro Published by Gale Cengage

Alice Munro was born Alice Laidlaw in 1931, in Wingham, Ontario, Canada. She grew up near the Great Lakes that border the United States and...

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Munro was born on July 10, 1931, in the small town of Wingham, Ontario, in Canada. Her father owned a silver-fox farm on the outskirts of the...

(The entire section is 474 words.)