Alice Munro’s road to Nobel literature prize was not easy

Margaret Atwood in The Guardian:

Nobel-literature-prize-wi-009Alice Munro has been awarded the Nobel prize in literature, thus becoming its 13th female recipient. It's a thrilling honour for a major writer: Munro has long been recognised in North America and the UK, but the Nobel will draw international attention, not only to women's writing and Canadian writing, but to the short story, Munro's chosen métier and one often overlooked.

…Munro found herself referred to as “some housewife”, and was told that her subject matter, being too “domestic”, was boring. A male writer told her she wrote good stories, but he wouldn't want to sleep with her. “Nobody invited him,” said Munro tartly. When writers occur in Munro stories, they are pretentious, or exploitative of others; or they're being asked by their relatives why they aren't famous, or – worse, if female – why they aren't better-looking. The road to the Nobel wasn't an easy one for Munro: the odds that a literary star would emerge from her time and place would once have been zero. She was born in 1931, and thus experienced the Depression as a child and the second world war as a teenager. This was in south-western Ontario, a region that also produced Robertson Davies, Graeme Gibson, James Reaney, and Marian Engel, to name several. It's this small-town setting that features most often in her stories – the busybodies, the snobberies, the eccentrics, the cutting of swelled heads down to size, and the jeering at ambitions, especially artistic ones. The pressure of cramped conditions may create the determination to break free, to gain some sort of mastery; but if you try this, you'd better do it well. Otherwise those who have laughed at you will laugh even harder, since an ice dancer who tries a triple axel and falls on her behind is hilarious.

More here.