Alice Munro — the author behind The Lives of Girls and Women, The Moons of Jupiter and Friends of My Youth — was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature this November, but was too unwell to attend the ceremony. While her daughter Jenny was in Sweden to accept the honor on her behalf, Munro has now released a 30-minute taped interview as an alternative to the typical lecture given by Nobel Prize winners.
If 30-minutes sounds too long, don't sweat it. Just leave the video open in another tab and go about your business as Munro's calming voice and strong insights lull you into a state of relaxed efficiency.
A few highlights:
On being the lone feminist when growing up in the countryside of Ontario, Canada during the '30s and '40s:
"I never knew about the word "feminism," but of course I was a feminist."
"You know, this is kind of a special thing with growing up as I did. If anybody read, it was the women, if anybody had the education it was often the woman; it would have been a schoolteacher or something like that, and far from being closed to women, the world of reading and writing was widely more open to women than it was to men, men being farmers or doing different kinds of work. It's much more OK now for women to be doing something important, not just fooling around with 'a little game that she does while everybody else is out of the house', but to be really serious about writing, as a man would write."
On whether or not she wants women to read her books and feel inspired to write:
"I don't care what they feel as long as they enjoy reading the book. I want people to — just to find not so much inspiration in it, as great enjoyment. That's what I want. I want people to enjoy my books and to think of them as related to their own lives..."
So much for that not-inspiring-people thing — Alice Munro is the first Canadian female to win the Nobel Prize for Literature. She is also the best.