Literary Birthday – 10 July – Alice Munro


Happy Birthday, Alice Munro, born 10 July 1931

10 Alice Munro Quotes

  1. In twenty years I’ve never had a day when I didn’t have to think about someone else’s needs. And this means the writing has to be fitted around it.
  2. There is a limit to the amount of misery and disarray you will put up with, for love, just as there is a limit to the amount of mess you can stand around a house. You can’t know the limit beforehand, but you will know when you’ve reached it. I believe this.
  3. Reading was my life really until I was thirty. I was living in books. The writers of the American South were the first writers who really moved me because they showed me that you could write about small towns, rural people, and that kind of life I knew very well.
  4. I write every morning, seven days a week. I write starting about eight o’clock and finish up around eleven. Then I do other things the rest of the day, unless I do my final draft or something that I want to keep working on then I’ll work all day with little breaks.
  5. I am so compulsive that I have a quota of pages. If I know that I am going somewhere on a certain day, I will try to get those extra pages done ahead of time.
  6. I can’t play bridge. I don’t play tennis. All those things that people learn, and I admire, there hasn’t seemed time for. But what there is time for is looking out the window.
  7. Sometimes I get the start of a story from a memory, an anecdote, but that gets lost and is usually unrecognizable in the final story.
  8. I want the reader to feel something is astonishing. Not the ‘what happens’, but the way everything happens.
  9. A story is not like a road to follow … it’s more like a house. You go inside and stay there for a while, wandering back and forth and settling where you like and discovering how the room and corridors relate to each other, how the world outside is altered by being viewed from these windows. And you, the visitor, the reader, are altered as well by being in this enclosed space, whether it is ample and easy or full of crooked turns, or sparsely or opulently furnished. You can go back again and again, and the house, the story, always contains more than you saw the last time. It also has a sturdy sense of itself of being built out of its own necessity, not just to shelter or beguile you.
  10. The constant happiness is curiosity.

Munro is a Canadian author. She is the winner of the 2009 Man Booker International Prize for her lifetime body of work. She is a perennial contender for the Nobel Prize.

Added 10 October 2013: Canadian writer Alice Munro has won the 2013 Nobel Prize in Literature. The Swedish Academy, which selects Nobel Literature winners, called her a “master of the contemporary short story“.

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by Amanda Patterson

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  1. ranjitham

    I like quotes 2,9 and 10. They resonate with me.

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