Western alumna Alice Munro, DLitt’76, the recognized short story master and first Canadian woman to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, will be celebrated on a new stamp that pays homage to her life and work.
Released July 10 to mark Munro’s birthday, the stamp incorporates a photograph of Munro taken by her daughter, Sheila; a sample of the author’s handwriting from archival material; and vintage images of her hometown, Wingham, Ont. Many believe Wingham inspired her fictional town of Jubilee, in which many of her stories are set. The stamp was designed by Marcio Morgado and Paul Haslip of HM&E Design in Toronto.
“Alice Munro is not only one of Canada’s most critically acclaimed writers, but also one of the most popular,” said Lisa Raitt, Minister of Transport and responsible for Canada Post. “Her stories have garnered recognition worldwide and this tribute adds to her lifetime of honours.”
The pressure-sensitive stamp – printed by Colour Innovations Inc. on Tullis Russell paper using lithography in five colours – is available in booklets of 10 and measures 26 mm x 32 mm, with simulated perforations. The Official First Day Cover will be cancelled in Wingham, Ont.
“Our stamp program recognizes the achievements of Canadians,” said Deepak Chopra, President and CEO of Canada Post. “As fans of this prolific author know, Ms. Munro’s literary talent, wisdom and humanity, reflected in her stories over several decades, have earned her recognition that few writers in any language or country attain.”
Munro has been called ‘Canada’s Chekhov.’ Similar to the work of the Russian short-story master, plot is usually secondary. Her stories revolve around small epiphanies encountered by her characters, often when current events illuminate something that happened in the past. And her publishing life started at Western.
Munro’s first connection to Western’s Department of English came while she was an undergraduate student pursuing an English major. As a student, she published three short stories in Western’s undergraduate English magazine, Folio, from 1949-51.
She returned to Western in 1974-75, when she held the post of writer-in-residence. During that time she was working on her collection, Who Do You Think You Are?, which won the Governor’s General’s Award. In total, she has been awarded three Governor General’s Awards in 1968, 1978 and 1986, Giller Prizes in 1998 and 2004 and the Man Booker International Prize for lifetime achievement in 2009.
When she was presented with her Nobel Prize in 2013, a representative of the Nobel Committee for Literature said, “Reading one of her texts is like watching a cat walk across a laid dinner table. Alice Munro is often able to say more in 30 pages than an ordinary novelist is capable of in 300.”