Interview: Alice Munro, 2013 Nobel Prize Laureate in Literature


[Adam Smith] Hello, Adam
Smith. [Alice Munro] Hello Adam!
[AS] Hello, this is Alice Munro? [AM] Yes, this is Alice Munro. I just wanted
to thank you, very much. This is quite a wonderful thing for me. It’s a wonderful thing for the
short story. [AS] It is indeed, and may we congratulate
you in turn. It’s a wonderful day. [AM] Thank you very, very much.
[AS] How did you hear the news? [AM] Um, let me see, I was wandering around
this morning, early. How did I hear it first? [Said to her daughter, Jenny, in the room
with her] … Oh, the press called me. [AS] And what was your first reaction? Do
you remember? [AM] Unbelief. [Laughs] I really couldn’t
believe it, I was so happy, and I haven’t gotten over the delight yet.
[AS] You’ve produced an enormous body of work over four decades …
[AM] Well I have, yes. But, you know, because I work generally in the short story form,
this is a special thing I think to get this recognition.
[AS] Yes indeed, yes indeed. Have you been basically the same sort of writer from the
beginning to the end? Have you changed, do you think?
[AM] Well you know as far as I can tell, I have not changed very much. But someone else
could answer that question better I think. [AS] And the award will bring a great new
readership to your work … [AM] Well I would hope so, and I hope this
would happen not just for me but for the short story in general. Because it’s often sort
of brushed off, you know, as something that people do before they write their first novel.
And I would like it to come to the fore, without any strings attached, so that there doesn’t
have to be a novel. [AS] And for those who don’t know your work,
would you recommend a starting point? [AM] Oh goodness! I don’t know, I can’t … You
always think that your latest work is your best, at least I do. So I would want them
to start with the latest book. [AS] So they should start with
Dear Life should they?
[AM] Well, in a way, yes, but then I hope they would go back and read the others as
well. [AS] And of course everybody is talking about
the fact that you announced earlier this year that you were going to stop writing, and saying “Maybe this will encourage her to start again.”
[AM] [Laughs] Well you know I’ve been doing it for so many years. I’ve been writing and
publishing, I think, since I was about twenty – just now and then I would get something
published you know – but that’s a long time to be working and I thought maybe it’s time
to take it easy. But this may change my mind. [Laughter]
[AS] That’s an exciting statement! That’s going to have everybody buzzing.
[Both laugh] [AS] How splendid! So, I know that you must
be tired after speaking to so many people so we would like very much to talk to you
perhaps on another occasion … [AM] That would be great, actually, because
I am a little bit tired and woozy now and God knows what I might say!
[AS] [Laughs] OK, well we’ll wait until this quiet down a bit, and then …
[AM] OK. [AS] It has been a great pleasure to speak
to you, thank you so very much indeed. [AM] Thank you, goodbye.
[AS] Bye, bye.

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