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Western University Considers Ties with Alice Munro

Western University Considers Ties with Alice Munro
Western University Considers Ties with Alice Munro

Alice Munro University says it is considering how to proceed after the Nobel laureate’s daughter revealed she was sexually abused by her stepfather and Munro chose to stay with him.

Western University has long touted its ties to the short story writer, establishing an Alice Munro Chair in Creativity in 2018 to guide “the creative culture” of the arts and humanities faculty.

Acting Dean Ileana Paul said in a statement that the faculty is now considering how the revelations by Andrea Robin Skinner, Munro’s youngest daughter, will impact how the London, Ontario, school celebrates the author’s legacy.

In an article in the Toronto Star published Sunday, Skinner wrote that she was sexually abused by Munro’s second husband, Gerald Fremlin, beginning when she was nine years old.

When Munro learned of the abuse years later, Skinner wrote, she focused more on herself than on her daughter and ultimately chose to stay with Fremlin.

Fremlin was convicted of indecent assault in 2005 at the age of 80, but Munro remained in prison.

Skinner wrote in the piece that she wanted her experiences to be part of the story people told about Munro when they thought about her legacy, rather than the hero worship that had become common.

The revelation has left many fans, writers and academics grappling with their feelings about Munro, with some saying it will fundamentally change how and whether they read her work.

Munro died in May at the age of 92.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 9, 2024.