Short-Story Master Alice Munro Is Dead

She was the first lifelong Canadian to win the Nobel
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 14, 2024 11:36 AM CDT
Nobel-Winning Writer Alice Munro Dies at 92
Canadian author Alice Munro in 2013.   (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Chad Hipolito)

Nobel laureate Alice Munro, the Canadian literary giant who became one of the world's most esteemed contemporary authors and one of history's most honored short-story writers, has died at age 92. A spokesperson for her publisher confirmed the death of Munro, winner of the Nobel literary prize in 2013, but did not immediately provide further details, per the AP. Munro had been in frail health for years and often spoke of retirement, a decision that proved final after the author's 2012 collection, Dear Life.

Often ranked with Anton Chekhov, John Cheever, and a handful of other short-story writers, Munro achieved stature rare for an art form traditionally placed beneath the novel. She was the first lifelong Canadian to win the Nobel and the first recipient cited exclusively for short fiction. Echoing the judgment of so many before, the Swedish academy pronounced her a "master of the contemporary short story" who could "accommodate the entire epic complexity of the novel in just a few short pages."

Munro, little known beyond Canada until her late 30s, also became one of the few short-story writers to enjoy ongoing commercial success. Her best-known fiction included The Beggar's Maid, a courtship between an insecure young woman and an officious rich boy who becomes her husband; Corrie, in which a wealthy young woman has an affair with an architect "equipped with a wife and young family;" and The Moons of Jupiter, about a middle-aged writer who visits her ailing father in a Toronto hospital and shares memories of different parts of their lives. Other popular books included Too Much Happiness, The View from Castle Rock, and The Love of a Good Woman.

story continues below

"I think any life can be interesting," Munro said during a 2013 post-prize interview for the Nobel Foundation. "I think any surroundings can be interesting." Although not overtly political, Munro witnessed and participated in the cultural revolution of the 1960s and '70s and permitted her characters to do the same. She was a farmer's daughter who married young, then left her husband in the 1970s and took to "wearing miniskirts and prancing around," as she recalled in a 2003 interview. Many of her stories contrasted the generation of Munro's parents with the more open-ended lives of their children, departing from the years when housewives daydreamed "between the walls that the husband was paying for."

(More Alice Munro stories.)

Get breaking news in your inbox.
What you need to know, as soon as we know it.
Sign up
Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.