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'Master of the short story' Alice Munro dies at 92

By Ehren Wynder

May 14 (UPI) -- Canadian short story author and Nobel Prize winner Alice Munro has died. She was 92.

Munro, who had been suffering from dementia for the past dozen years, died Monday in her care home in Ontario, her family confirmed to Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail.

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He short stories often take place in the small towns and rural areas of her home province of Ontario and feature girls and women dealing with the universal issues of daily life.

"I am at home with the brick houses, the falling down barns, the trailer parks, burdensome old churches, Wal-Mart and Canadian Tire. I speak the language," Munro had said.

Munro published her first short story, The Dimensions of Shadow, in 1950 while she was studying journalism at the University of Western Ontario. She published her debut short story collection, Dance of the Happy Shades, in 1968.

USA Today's Deirdre Donahue wrote in 2009, "Munro can still teach younger writers how to write marvelously muscular short fiction. These stories have more plot and energy than most novels."

Her stories made her a three-time winner of the Governor General's Award for fiction. She also won a National Book Critics Circle prize in 1998 and the Man Booker International Prize in 2009.

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Munro most notably won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2013. The foundation in a statement announcing the award called her the "master of the contemporary short story."

She was the first Canadian to receive the prize for literature and the 13th women to receive the award since its inception in 1901.

"Alice Munro is one of the four or five greatest fiction writers in English literature, ever," said former Canadian Governor General Adrienne Clarkson. "The way she wrote, with deceptive clarity, was so extraordinary. It was a way she could catch your heart."

Born on July 10, 1931, to a farm family during the Great Depression, Munro said she knew she wanted to be a writer from her teenage years.

She met her first husband, bookseller James Munro, at the University of Western Ontario. Together they had three daughters. A fourth daughter died shortly after childbirth.

Munro announced her retirement from writing in 2013, shortly after the death of her second husband Gerald Fremlin.

Due to health reasons, she did not travel to Sweden to receive the Nobel Prize in person.

In a statement regarding her award, she said she was "dazed by all the attention and affection that has been coming my way."

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"When I began writing, there was a very small community of Canadian writers, and little attention was paid by the world," the statement read. "Now Canadian writers are read, admired and respected around the globe. I'm so thrilled to be chosen as [a] Nobel Prize for Literature recipient.

"I hope it fosters further interest in all Canadian writers. I also hope that this brings further recognition to the short story form."

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