Grappling with Alice Munro’s dark family secret

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The late Canadian author Alice Munro remains one of the best-known fiction writers in the English language. She won a Nobel prize for her work, and was celebrated for her intimate portrayals of the lives of women and girls. 

But for decades, Munro hid a dark secret: her husband had sexually abused her youngest daughter when she was a child, and Munro stuck by him — even after her daughter stopped speaking to her, and even after her husband was convicted of sexual assault.

Now, Munro’s daughter, Andrea Robin Skinner, has published an explosive essay in the Toronto Star, detailing the abuse and the ways that her mother — and the rest of the family — kept silent about it. 

Today we’re going to unpack what all of this means with Zoe Whittall, a TV and fiction writer whose books include Wild Failure, The Best Kind of People, The Spectacular, and others.

If you or someone you know has been sexually abused, and you’re looking for support, you can find a list of local sexual assault centres, crisis lines and other resources across Canada at

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