Dance of the Happy Shades by Alice Munro was published by The Ryerson Press in 1968. This was Alice Munro’s first book of stories and “a publishing event that will bring her national (and international) recognition. Her complete honesty, unpretentious and deceptively simple style mark her work as that of a true artist. Alice Munro writes about the everyday happenings in life — occurrences in small towns, on a farm, or the next street over. Her people explore the miracle of self-discovery or the despair that comes from their failure to know themselves.” Dance of The Happy Shades won the Governor General’s Award for Fiction in 1968.
Hugh Garner, in the Foreword to Alice Munro’s first book, says of her work, “Not only do real people, institutions and places become the paint and clay of the artist, they come to life in the hearts and minds of the readers. Among such living people created by Alice Munro are young Patricia and the pitiable retarded Benny in The Time of Death, the little girl who accompanies her father on a casual visit to his old sweetheart in Walker Brothers Cowboy, Mrs. Fullerton and her smug suburban neighbours in The Shining Houses and the despairing cry of young Lois to her evening’s lover in Thanks for the Ride. The writer who has mastered the classic short story is an artist and his work carries with it the mark of literary craftsmanship. Alice Munro is a literary artist. She belongs among the real ones — Morley Callaghan, W.O. Mitchell, Brian Moore, Margaret Laurence, Mordecai Richler, Earnest Buckler….You’ll find at least one member of your family in these stories. But most of all, you’ll notice some of the profound though probably unpalatable truths about yourself.”
Alice Munro went on to publish many more books including Lives of Girls and Women; Something I’ve Been Meaning to Tell You; Who Do You Think You Are?; The Moons of Jupiter; The Progress of Love; Friends of My Youth; Open Secrets; The Love of a Good Woman; Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage; Runaway; The View from Castle Rock; Too Much Happiness; Dear Life.
Alice Munro is the winner of many literary awards including the Governor General’s Literary Award for English language fiction, 1968, 1978, 1986; The Canadian Booksellers Award, 1971; The Giller Prize, 1998, 2004; The Man Booker International Prize, 2009; and The Nobel Prize for Literature, 2013. Alice Munro lives in Clinton, Ontario.