Alice Munro Chair in Creativity


The Alice Munro Chair in Creativity will recognize and honour our Nobel laureate, inspire student writers, build diverse cultural communities within the university and beyond, and foster creative expression of all kinds.

Alice Munro is counted among Western University’s most extraordinary alumni. Her first connection to the Department of English came in 1949, when she entered Western as an undergraduate pursuing an English major and shortly thereafter achieved her first publication in a campus literary magazine, Folio. In 1974, she served as Western’s Department of English’s third Writer-in-Residence, and in 1976, Western University recognized Munro’s remarkable literary achievements with an honorary degree, the only such honour she has ever accepted. In October 2013, Munro was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature as a "master of the contemporary short story."

The Alice Munro Chair in Creativity will:

  • Lead the creative culture of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, serving as a mentor and a model;
  • Participate in graduate and/or undergraduate teaching; Focus on the production of creative work, alongside a study of creativity;
  • Assume a leadership role between the University and the local creative community;
  • Allow the University to enhance and expand the Writer-in-Residence program;
  • Provide the University with access to a world of writing and artistic creation beyond Canada, allowing the University to attract international authors and artists as speakers and collaborators;
  • Present the annual Alice Munro Lecture on Creativity.




heti_23.pngSHELIA HETI

Sheila is the author of ten books, including the novels Pure Colour, Motherhood and How Should a Person Be? She recently published her second children’s book, A Garden of Creatures, illustrated by Esme Shapiro. In early 2024, Alphabetical Diaries will be published by Fitzcarraldo Editions, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, and Knopf Canada. The book, which was excerpted over 10 weeks in the New York Times, has been optioned for a television series by Hulu. She was named one of "The New Vanguard" by The New York Times; a list of fifteen writers from around the world who are "shaping the way we read and write fiction in the 21st century." Her books have been translated into twenty-five languages.

Motherhood was chosen by the book critics at the New York Times as one of the top books of 2018, and New York magazine chose it as the Best Book of the year. How Should a Person Be? was named one of the 12 “New Classics of the 21st century” by Vulture. It was a New York Times Notable Book, a best book of the year in The New Yorker, and was cited by Time as "one of the most talked-about books of the year.” Pure Colour is the recipient of the 2022 Governor General’s Literary Award for fiction. In 2022, she was the Franke Visiting Fellow at Yale, and an Associate Research Scholar and Lecturer in Religious Studies.

Previous Alice Munro Chairs in Creativity

Ivan Coyote - 2020-2023

Alice Munro Chair in Creativity, Ivan Coyote -  2020-2023


Award-winning author and seasoned stage performer Ivan Coyote has been named the Alice Munro Chair in Creativity in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities. It is an appointment that will bring to the Western community a new level of engagement for a new generation of artists.

“Ivan possesses a rare and remarkable gift – a voice that is intensely intimate, personal and able to connect directly with a broad and diverse audience,” said Michael Milde, Arts and Humanities Dean. “Writer, performer, memoirist, and storyteller, Ivan Coyote is a multi-talented creative artist whose passion, empathy and social engagement shine through in person and in their strong digital presence – truly an Alice Munro Chair for the 21st century."

Coyote follows award-winning Canadian novelist Nino Ricci, who served as the inaugural holder of the Munro Chair.

Active Voice Series

A reading and performance series, Active Voice is also a highly interactive senior-level class. Coyote has handpicked some of their favourite artists to participate in the performance series element of the class. The guest artists will share songs, videos, scripts, links to previous performances, or articles for the students to read, watch or listen to in advance of their streamed performance, and then they will join the class afterwards for an active discussion about the material.


  • Tuesday, January 18, 2021 - Christine Fellows & John K. Samson
  • Tuesday, February 9, 2021 - Richard Van Camp: "The Power of Stories and The Medicine They Carry"
  • Tuesday, March 2, 2021 - Veda Hille: “Songs and Talking, What Else Do You Need?”
  • Tuesday, March 16, 2021 - Ivan Coyote: "Care Of: Correspondence, Connections, and Cures" hosted by Otoniya J Okot Bitek
  • Tuesday, March 30, 2021 - Cherie Dimaline


In the Media:

Ivan Coyote among finalists for the Governor General's Literary Awards

Ivan Coyote to remain Alice Munro Chair in Creativity for an additional year

Ivan Coyote Brings Active Voice to Western

Rebent Sinner Nominated for Evergreen Award

Care of Featured in Globe & Mail's 5 Canadian Books They Can't Wait to Read

Ivan Coyote publishing collection of pandemic correspondence

Ivan Coyote to bring passion, empathy to Munro Chair

Creative Works:

Books & short stories

  • Care Of: Letters, Connections, and Cures - 2021
  • Rebent Sinner - 2019
  • Tomboy Survival Guide - 2016
  • Gender Failure - 2014
  • One In Every Crowd - 2012
  • Persistence: All Ways Butch and Femme - 2011
  • Missed Her - 2010
  • The Slow Fix - 2008
  • Bow Grip - 2006
  • Loose End - 2005
  • One Man’s Trash - 2002
  • Close to Spiderman - 2000
  • Boys Like Her - 1998

Nino Ricci - 2018-2020

Alice Munro Chair in Creativity Nino Ricci - 2018-2020

The inaugural holder of the Alice Munro Chair in Creativity is Nino Ricci, who will be at Western until July 2020. Since July 2018, Nino has been involved in a number of student and campus-focused activities including:


Who Do You Think You Are?

Who Do You Think You Are? is hosted by Nino Ricci, the Alice Munro Chair in Creativity at Western University. Each episode, the multiple award-winning Canadian novelist talks to a faculty member from the Western community who makes a difference in their field by challenging old assumptions or forging new models for how we make sense of the world. These are people who show us that creativity lies at the heart of innovation in any field. They also show us how creative solutions often come from building bridges across the disciplines and break down the barriers that often blind us to new approaches.


ENGLISH 4570F – Advanced Fiction Workshop

This is workshop course directed at students interested in writing a novel or a collection of linked short stories, with a focus on the crucial early stages of the writing process. Students are expected to complete 25 to 40 pages of an early draft of a novel or story collection over the course of the term. Readings will include excerpts from Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird, John Gardner’s The Art of Fiction, Stephen King’s On Writing, and James Wood’s How Fiction Works, as well as selected short stories and novel excerpts. 

ENGLISH 2091G – The Creative Moment

This course looks at some of the factors that govern creativity, examining significant historical examples of turning-point moments across a range of disciplines and using literary texts as a way of exploring how evolution in the arts feeds and is fed by evolution in other fields. The course opens with an overview of recent research on creativity, then focuses on three distinct cultural moments: the rise of drama in Elizabethan England, the birth of modernism in the early 20th century, and the sudden flourishing of Canadian culture in the 1960s.

Research & Creative Work

  • Research trip to Paris, Berlin and Vienna to complete research for a novel-in-progress set in Europe in the fifteen months preceding the First World War.
  • Completed some 40000 words of the second draft of the novel over the course of my first year as Alice Munro Chair.

Other activities

  • Keynote speaker at conferences on Canadian Literature at University of Udine and at University of Naples
  • Featured speaker at SASAH’s “Humanize the Future” lecture series, Conron Hall
  • Reading and panel with Jane Urquhart at London Wordsfest 2018
  • Featured as a “Living Book” at Huron College’s Living Library Event
  • Author visit to Writer’s Craft class at London’s Westminster Secondary School
  • Class visits at Western and meeting with the student writing group The Coterie
  • “Forms of Narrative” exhibition at ArtLab gallery by students of AH 3393G
  • Talk on creativity in Western’s Senior Alumni lecture series
  • Juror and Presenter, Alice Munro Festival of the Short Story
  • Guest speaker at Western’s Indigenous Writers’ Circle 
  • Season Two of podcast “Who Do You Think You Are?” 
  • Contributor to charity fundraiser The Awesome Music Project: Songs of Hope and Happiness and presenter at Kitchener launch 
  • Interdisciplinary panel at 2019 London Wordsfest with selected podcast guests 
  • Keynote speaker at conference on literature and immigration at University of Campobasso, Italy 

In the Media

Inaugural Alice Munro Chair in Creativity, Nino Ricci, speaks as part of the SASAH Speakers' Series on the act of creativity. September 2018. Western University.

Ricci to explore creativity in every campus corner
Adela Talbot, Western News, September 2018

Nino Ricci discusses new role on CBC London Morning
CBC Radio London, September 2018

London's Words festival brings writers, readers together
London Free Press, November 2018

The Guiding Hand Of Creativity
Western News, December 2018