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Iconic Canadian author Alice Munro was also beloved by Persian readers

Former West Vancouver resident Alice Munro passed away May 13, leaving a literary legacy around the world

News spread around the globe this week about the passing of iconic Canadian writer Alice Munro, with many media stories about her placing her name in the same revered space as literary greats such Anton Chekhov.

Munro, who for a time lived in West Vancouver with her husband James Munro, passed away at age 92 on Monday, May 13. She left behind a significant influence that goes beyond the boundaries of any one place. 

More than a dozen of her stories have been translated into Farsi. Among Persian audiences, Alice Munro was well known and beloved, often referred to as “Canada’s Chekhov.”

Bahman Sahami (Nima), the owner of Nima, the oldest Persian bookstore in the Vancouver area (established in 1992 in North Vancouver), says requests for Munro’s books at his bookstore have increased in the days following her death.

In recent years, Iranian actress Taraneh Alidoosti translated a collection of Munro’s works, including short stories. This collection features stories like Face, Queenie, Post and Beam, Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage, and My Mother’s Dream. The book My Mother’s Dream was published in Iran and has seen a remarkable reception, being republished more than ten times.

Alidoosti was arrested by the Islamic Republic regime when the Women, Life, Freedom movement hit Iran in 2022-23. She was released after 18 days from Evin prison in Tehran, Iran. During the protests, she posted her picture without the hijab on Instagram and expressed support for the nationwide anti-regime demonstration. The star of the Oscar-winning film The Salesman (2017) has recently made headlines due to her illness post-imprisonment. Her translation of Alice Munro’s stories has recently been requested by book readers who visit the Nima Book Store.

“She has a significant role in introducing Munro’s works to Iranian users,” Nima says of Alidoosti.

The Love of a Good Woman, translated into Farsi, is available in the Nima Book Store.

Nima highlighted Alice Munro’s mastery of short stories, and she is often compared to Chekhov.

“I think her short stories are uniquely deep in terms of emotion,” he said.

Additionally, Mani Haghighi, an Iranian director, directed a movie adapted from Post and Beam, and also met with Munro.

Munro won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2013 for her short stories, becoming one of 17 women to win the prize. She also won the Man Booker International Prize in 2009 and the O. Henry Award in 2012. Munro was an important member of a generation of Canadian writers, including Margaret Atwood, whose fame extended well beyond the borders of Canada.

Hamid Jafari is a Vancouver-based freelance journalist who writes about the Iranian community in Canada, art, culture, and social media trends. His work for the North Shore News is supported by New Canadian Media. [email protected]