OTD: Author Alice Munro born in Wingham, Ont.

On today’s date in 1931, Canadian author and Nobel Prize laureate Alice Munro was born in Wingham, Ont.

Munro “revolutionized the architecture of short stories” – especially their tendency to move forward and backward in time – and “brought a modesty and subtle wit to her work that admirers often traced to her background growing up in rural Canada,” wrote Julie Bosman for The New York Times in 2013, after Munro was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.

In addition to the 2013 Nobel Prize in Literature for her work as “master of the contemporary short story,” Munro is the recipient of many literary accolades, including the 2009 Man Booker International Prize for her lifetime body of work. She is also a three-time recipient of the Governor-General’s Award for Fiction and was the recipient of the Writers’ Trust of Canada’s 1996 Marian Engel Award and 2004 Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize for Runaway.


In 2014, the Royal Canadian Mint unveiled a coin celebrating Munro’s Nobel Prize in Literature.

To honour her achievement and promote Canada’s writing community, the Mint also donated $10,000 to the Writers’ Trust of Canada.

The $5 Proof silver coin has a weight of 23.17 grams and a diameter of 36.07 millimetres. Designed by Canadian artist Laurie McGaw, the coin’s reverse features an ethereal female figure emerging from a pen as a representation of one of the many central characters from Munro’s beloved short stories.

An image of a hand is seen resting against an open book, whose pages are inscribed with a passage from Munro’s The View from Castle Rock, which reads: “And in one of these houses – I can’t remember whose – a magic doorstop, a big mother-of-pearl seashell that I recognized as a messenger from near and far, because I could hold it to my ear – when nobody was there to stop me – and discover the tremendous pounding of my own blood, and of the sea.”

A laurel branch also celebrates Munro’s distinction as the first Canadian woman to win a Nobel Prize in Literature.

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