Quill and Quire Essay

Quill and Quire commissioned me to write this personal essay about Alice Munro’s legacy for their Books of the Year issue. I’ve excerpted a passage below:

‘Her wide readership gives hope to writers more preoccupied with the grace notes and nuances of language than plot mechanics or the issue-driven grandeur that makes so many contemporary novels a hard slog. A close reading of her work is the best creative-writing lesson I ever had. Her prose has the depth and perfect pitch of poetry. She has a poet’s ear for the way words sound and work together. The ease with which she handles complex narratives is dazzling. I know of at least a dozen writers, none of whose work bears any superficial resemblance to hers or even to each other’s, but who nonetheless claim her as a significant influence. What inspires me most about Munro the writer is her persistence in trying to, in her own words, “account for the inexpressible.” Reading her, I get the sense that as an artist she is moving always into uncharted waters, fraught with potential danger and unsettling news about humanity.”