In 2013, Alice Munro became one of only 13 women ever to win the Nobel Prize for Literature. The committee described her as a “master of the contemporary short story” in bestowing the award. The New Yorker dubbed her “our Chekhov.” In total, she has written 16 books of short stories.
She published her first at age 37.
What I admire most about Alice Munro, is that she accomplished this feat while running a bookstore and raising three daughters.
As her daughter Sheila writes in her memoir Lives of Mothers and Daughters, Alice Munro wrote “in a laundry room, and her typewriter was surrounded by a washer, a dryer and an ironing board. In fact she could write almost anywhere in the house.”
For me, she is living proof of the benefits of role combination, living proof that it is not necessary to abandon one’s creative work to start a family; on the contrary, it may be after starting a family that one’s creative work truly begins.
After all, as she is quoted saying in an interview with The Guardian, lives often unfold after a delay, in fits and starts: “I like gaps, all my stories have gaps. It seems this is the way people’s lives present themselves.”
Or, as the tag line for Sarah Polley’s film adaptation of “The Bear Came Over the Mountain” reminds, “it is never too late to become what you might have been.”
Thank you for demonstrating, Alice Munro!
To read about more women making critical contributions – even after age 30 – Follow me on twitter @shespoised.