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Lisa Dickler Awano

Lisa Dickler Awano’s work has aired nationally on public radio in segments of Morning Edition and All Things Considered, and appeared in such publications as The New York Quarterly and Chicago Review. She profiled Alice Munro for the Vancouver Sun and has interviewed her for other publications.

Author

"Dear Life," by Alice Munro

An Interview With Alice Munro

Spring 2013 | Interviews

Alice Munro, who has set much of her canon in her native southwestern Ontario, has long been considered one of the foremost writers of psychological fiction in English.

Alice Munro’s Too Much Happiness

October 22, 2010 | Criticism

Alice Munro is widely recognized as being among the greatest living authors writing in English, and her latest volume of stories, just now being released in paperback, inspires, as the title suggests, almost Too Much Happiness—her thirteenth book in a nearly sixty-year career. The collection reads with the headlong rush of both a thriller and a romance. In ten stories, told with equal power and precision from male and female perspectives, Munro explores how people do and don't move on with their lives after losing what they thought they couldn't live without.

 

 

An Interview with Alice Munro

October 22, 2010 | Interviews

An interview with Alice Munro begins precisely on time, and always with a quick, friendly, personal exchange of greetings and news. Then we’re off on an odyssey in which a couple of hours fly by as we discuss her stories and how they came to be. Munro's conversational voice is so similar to the sound, diction, and rhythms of her writing, that every reader of her work already knows how she speaks. In her down-to-earth manner, she presents complex ideas in concrete, understandable ways.

 

Appreciations of Alice Munro

Summer 2006 | Essays

  Michael Cunningham, novelist Alice Munro tells the large stories of people whose lives are outwardly small. Rarely does she write about the exceptional outsider. She is a great champion of ordinary outsiders, of people who in small and crucia [...]

An Appreciation of Alice Munro

Summer 2006 | Essays

  Alice Munro tells the large stories of people whose lives are outwardly small. Rarely does she write about the exceptional outsider. She is a great champion of ordinary outsiders, of people who in small and crucial ways don’t fit, who need a [...]

An Appreciation of Alice Munro

Summer 2006 | Essays

  Alice Munro has always been a writer’s writer, and she has also become, for a short story writer, highly popular, simply for doing what she does. I believe that one of her great pieces of luck was living in Canada and being the person she is [...]

An Appreciation of Alice Munro

Summer 2006 | Essays

The fifties were a very male period of writing in the United States. America didn’t have a tradition of women writers. Who, among women, were admired? Eudora Welty, Katherine Anne Porter. Among poets? Emily Dickinson. How many others? In Canada, you didn’t get points off for being a woman. The challenge wasn’t so much being female as it was being Canadian. Embroidery, oil painting, writing, it was all considered a hobby. Writing wasn’t important. There was hardly a market for new novels.

 

An Appreciation of Alice Munro

Summer 2006 | Essays

There is nothing exotic or off-putting in the opening paragraph or two of an Alice Munro story. The author puts her hand on your shoulder and invites you into her fictional world. She is friendly, and there is a neighborly quality to her narrative prose. She starts in a small place and universalizes characters and lives that we might otherwise overlook. It is as if you are sitting at a table, and she’s going to tell you a story of what happened a while back, down the street. Her intimate tone is interesting and immediate, and she is relaxed, calm, even inactive, almost seductive. Then, once you are in this fictional world, it becomes more threatening.

 

An Appreciation of Alice Munro

Summer 2006 | Essays

Alice Munro grew up in an era in which women were expected to be mothers, teachers, or nurses. You wouldn’t have concluded that you were going to be a writer. But sometimes necessity creates these talents. The Canadian market is a fraction of the size of the US market, which makes it so much harder to earn a living doing what you love to do. Yet geographically, Canada is so large, artists couldn’t just gather together the way they did in the Village in New York. So CBC—Canadian public radio—became that thin line that connected people across distances and gave hope that all this was possible.

 

An Appreciation of Alice Munro

Summer 2006 | Essays

I opened my own literary agency in 1974, and Alice became my client in 1976—after her third book, Something I’ve Been Meaning to Tell You. At that time, her writing was relatively new to the US market, and I was still developing my network in the publishing world. Anybody would have been happy to represent a writer like Alice Munro. I was doubly excited by her work because she was a woman writer of such power and, I was sure, true distinction. Lives of Girls and Women, which Alice published in 1971, impressed me for many reasons. It was a coming-of-age story about a young girl, and while I was accustomed to reading an initiation-to-life story with a young boy as the central character, this was as powerful as anything I had read. I admired the way her work was conscious of social structures that girls and women were expected to abide by.

An Appreciation of Alice Munro

Summer 2006 | Essays

Editors are paraliteraries—like paralegals and paramedicals. Their job is to help the writer to get a piece of writing to be the best it could possibly be with the writer writing at her best all the way through. To work with Alice Munro poses special challenges and offers special rewards. The structure of a Munro story works somewhat like a microscope, so that the closer in the reader focuses, the more the form dissolves and reassembles. Then as one gets to the end of the story, one sees what appears to be a whole cloth. The chronology of the structure of a Munro story is nonlinear and sometimes somewhat modular, so it is flexible. When I was editing her work at the New Yorker, we would look together at sections that might go elsewhere in order to best realize the kind of meaning and

An Appreciation of Alice Munro

Summer 2006 | Essays

  I consider Alice Munro to be one of our most important writers of psychological fiction. She has the courage to emphatically revive the psychology of the Romanticist Movement, to stick up for Freud when that’s still justifiable, and to blend [...]

An Appreciation of Alice Munro

Summer 2006 | Essays

  Generally speaking, the book editor’s job is to work with the writer to be sure the text is as strong as possible, and in the case of a short story collection, to order the stories. A lot of editorial work is intuitive. To some extent, it’ [...]

An Appreciation of Alice Munro

Summer 2006 | Essays

  Before I present a book at a sales conference, I’ll slip quickly through it again, just to remember it all. By this point I’ll have read the book three, four times at least, maybe five times, but I just want to refresh my memory. And the d [...]

Alice Munro

An Interview with Alice Munro

Summer 2006 | Interviews

The View from Castle Rock, Alice Munro’s collection of stories forthcoming from Knopf in November, will be her twelfth volume in a distinguished career that has spanned more than fifty-five years and has garnered resounding international acclaim. Her fiction has helped to extend the known boundaries of the short story genre and our appreciation of its potential.