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'So deeply divided': Academics rethinking Alice Munro's work after daughter's abuse revelations

Alice Munro is photographed at her daughter Sheila's home during an interview in Victoria on Dec. 10, 2013. (Chad Hipolito / The Canadian Press) Alice Munro is photographed at her daughter Sheila's home during an interview in Victoria on Dec. 10, 2013. (Chad Hipolito / The Canadian Press)
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Professors are re-evaluating how they approach the work of Alice Munro following revelations the writer protected her husband after learning he had sexually abused her daughter.

The academic community began reckoning with its relationship to the Nobel laureate after Andrea Robin Skinner published a first-person essay this weekend detailing the abuse at the hands of her stepfather and Munro's inaction.

The chair of the English and writing studies department at Western University, Munro's alma mater, says she'll start to grapple with that question in the coming weeks.

In an email, Manina Jones says that right now, she's "attending to Andrea Robin Skinner's story" and will turn her attention to Munro's legacy later.

She says she'll discuss that with her students, but she doesn't yet know what that discussion will look like.

Meanwhile, Robert Lecker, an English professor at McGill University, says he will continue with his graduate-level Munro course as planned next semester, while making room to discuss this new information about the writer's life.

But, he said, that was not an easy decision.

"I feel so deeply divided," he said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 10, 2024.

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