Wednesday March 08, 2017
The Lives of Women, Readers and Alice Munro
To mark International Women's Day, IDEAS eavesdrops on a group of women in St. John's, Newfoundland. They've gathered on a cold, autumn night for their regular book club. Over snacks, wine and tea, they discuss Alice Munro's work, and how her stories illuminate some of the deepest issues in their own lives. Munro's uncanny ability to shine light on darkened recesses of our inner lives earned her the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2013.
Winning the Nobel Prize was the most prestigious of all the awards Alice Munro has received during her distinguished career. She was the first Canadian woman writer to be honoured by the Nobel (Saul Bellow won in 1976), and the only short story author ever to win it.
Her stories focus on human relationships as seen through the lens of daily life, and they manage the epic complexity of a novel in a just few short pages. Little wonder she's been called "the Canadian Chekhov."
Six women were at the book club meeting in St. John's. Five of them are regulars, and on this occasion they've invited a friend of Alice Munro's to join them: the novelist, Joan Clark.
This episode interweaves excerpts from interviews with Alice Munro and from her stories -- inspiring the women to see their own lives reflected, and refracted, through the imagination of one of Canada's most celebrated and beloved writers.
**This episode was produced by Chris Brookes.