Quietly and without hoopla, Trustee Chair Colleen Schenk met up with internationally acclaimed author Alice Munro at Maitland River Elementary School to introduce the library that was named in her honour.
Schenk approached Munro’s assistant months ago to set up a date for a dedication ceremony. Munro declined being a private individual who doesn’t enjoy attention drawn to herself.
Convinced that Munro would appreciate seeing the space, Schenk approached Munro’s assistant recently to ask the question again, this time with the promise of no fanfare.
It was then agreed that she would come.
So, last week, at noon on a Wednesday, a low-key gathering took place involving two young readers, two staff, a trustee, an author and her friend.
After warm greetings and wide smiles in the foyer, the small band made their way through glass doors and there, in her hometown of Wingham in a public school library that bears her name, Alice Munro, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, stood.
“Alice was visibly very moved by the decor, the window and the wall mural”, states Trustee Chair Colleen Schenk. “She said it was beautiful and that she was very honoured to have the space named after her”.
While carefully taking in her surroundings, Munro chatted warmly with staff and shared with the students how she couldn’t quite remember when she started writing as a young girl. She graciously signed some books, posed for some pictures, thanked everyone for allowing her the opportunity and then waved goodbye.
“What an honour it was to meet such an icon with such humility”, adds Schenk. “She is a wonderful role model for our students and for all of us.”
The pictures below include Kim Cooke (MRES Resource teacher), Ewen Sangster (student and keen reader), Trustee Chair Colleen Schenk, Alice Munro, Angela Cowley (MRES Principal), Abigail Peel (student and keen reader) and Verna Steffler (Alice’s friend).