Munro picked tobacco, opened a bookshop and married an old university friend after meeting up again over three martinis
Alice Munro … Canada's first Nobel literature laureate. Photograph: Paul Hawthorne/AP
1. Her birth name was Alice Laidlaw.
2. She was born on July 10, 1931, just outside Wingham, Ontario, which has made frequent appearances in her stories (renamed Jubilee, or Hanratty).
3. Her father, Robert Laidlaw, was a direct descendant of James Hogg, author of The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner
4. She has said she began to escape into books after her schoolteacher mother was diagnosed with an unusual form of Parkinson's when Alice, the oldest of three children, was 10 years old.
5. She won a scholarship to study journalism at the University of Western Ontario, where she supported herself by selling her blood and picking suckers from tobacco, among other jobs. She published her first story, "The Dimensions of a Shadow", as a student in 1950.
7. With her first husband, Jim Munro, she opened a bookshop, Munro's Books, which is still trading today in Victoria, British Columbia. Their USP was to stock paperbacks almost exclusively, at a time when many traditional booksellers despised them.
8. Her second husband, geographer Gerry Fremlin, was an old friend from university. They decided to get married after meeting up again over three martinis.
9. When she won the Man Booker International prize in 2009, judge Jane Smiley described her work as "practically perfect".
10. She is the first Canadian citizen to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. (Saul Bellow was born Canadian but took US citizenship in 1941, 26 years before he won the Nobel)
• This article was amended on 10 October 2013. It originally located Victoria in the city of Vancouver.