Heartfelt Encouragement: How Alice Munro’s Husbands Fostered Her Writing

After their divorce, James found companionship with artist Carole Sabiston, who was with him until his death on November 21, 2016.

Alice Munro first found companionship with legendary bookstore owner James Munro. James was born on October 10, 1929, in Oakville, Ontario.

From an early age, he had a profound interest in literary works, eventually bringing Alice and James together.

In fact, James was one of Alice’s biggest fans, always encouraging her to write diverse stories.

In 1951, after graduating from the University of Western Ontario, the beautiful couple decided to tie the knot.

At that time, James worked at T. Eaton Company but had always dreamt of opening a bookstore. When the family moved to Victoria in 1963, the opportunity to pursue this dream presented itself.

With Alice’s encouragement, James finally resigned from his job and opened Munro’s Books.

They started with a small space on Yates Street in Victoria, where few bookstores existed.

James catered to a younger audience and gave opportunities to new writers, making the bookstore a local gem.

Over the past 50 years, Munro’s Books has become one of the most beautiful bookstores in the world.

Alice and James had four daughters: Sheila, Jenny, Andrea, and Catherine, who tragically died at birth.

Despite their shared success with the bookstore, their romance couldn’t last a lifetime, and they decided to part ways in 1972.

Alice Munro’s Second Husband Gerald Fremlin

After their divorce, James found companionship with artist Carole Sabiston, who was with him until his death on November 21, 2016.

Alice also found love again, this time with Gerald Fremlin, whom she knew from her university days. Gerald had once complimented her work, comparing it to that of Anton P. Chekov.

Gerald himself was a talented individual who was highly regarded in the field of geography and as an editor of the National Atlas of Canada.

A veteran, he served as a bomb aimer in the RCAF from 1942-45, completing 37 operations. After his military service, he studied philosophy and became interested in painting and poetry.

In 1976, Gerald married Alice Munro. The couple sought a quiet life and moved to Gerald’s family home in Clinton.

They remained there until Gerald passed away on April 17, 2013, in the house where he grew up.

In Case You Didn’t Know

  • Alice didn’t write novels because she felt she lacked the time or talent to do so.
  • Usually, in Alice’s stories, the protagonists are female characters.


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