Alice Munro no longer able to attend IFOA due to frail health, says editor

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TORONTO - CanLit legend Alice Munro has backed out of an appearance at this year's International Festival of Authors in Toronto due to what her editor calls frail health.

The two-time Scotiabank Giller Prize winner was originally scheduled to do a reading and interview at the festival on Oct. 19 to promote her new collection of short stories, "Dear Life" (Douglas Gibson Books/McClelland & Stewart).

But her longtime friend and editor, Douglas Gibson, now says she won't be able to attend.

"Alice is 81 years old now, and her health is frail, making it impossible for her to attend this IFOA event, although she would very much like to be able to do so," Gibson said in a statement on Friday.

Reached later by phone, Gibson noted Munro is "all right" and "living quietly at home" in the southwestern Ontario area of Goderich.

"I didn't want to set off alarm bells," said Gibson, who has worked with Munro as her editor since her 1978 collection, "Who Do You Think You Are?"

"I spent a week ago today with her and the hope was just to see if we could arrange for the Harbourfront thing but she decided it just wasn't possible."

Festival organizers said they "worked to the eleventh hour to try and make the event possible however it was determined that this course of action was best."

Three years ago, in an interview at the IFOA, Munro revealed she'd been through heart bypass surgery and a battle with cancer but did not provide specifics.

The IFOA says those who bought tickets to this year's Munro event will be contacted by the Harbourfront Centre box office as soon as possible.

Ticket holders who have not been contacted by Oct. 17 are asked to send inquiries to

A native of Wingham, Ont., Munro is beloved internationally for her short stories portraying women's lives in small town Ontario.

Her other honours include three Governor General's Literary Awards and the Man Booker International Prize.

Organizations: Harbourfront Centre

Geographic location: TORONTO, Ontario, Goderich Wingham

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