July 23, 2024

Nobel Prize-winning author Alice Munro’s daughter says stepdad abused her, and mom knew

Nobel Prize-winning author Alice Munro’s daughter says stepdad abused her, and mom knew

MONTREAL, July 7 — Canadian writer Alice Munro’s daughter said yesterday that her stepfather sexually abused her as a child and that her mother was told but stayed with him, in a damning account published after the Nobel laureate’s death.

Andrea Robin Skinner wrote in the Toronto Star that she was nine when, in 1976, “one night, while she (Munro) was away, her husband, my stepfather, Gerald Fremlin, climbed into the bed where I was sleeping and sexually assaulted me.”

She wrote that when she was alone with Fremlin—who died in 2013 — he “exposed himself during car rides, told me about the little girls in the neighbourhood he liked, and described my mother’s sexual needs.”

Skinner said that, when she was 25, she shared everything that had happened with Munro—but acclaimed author decided to stay with Fremlin, whom she wed in the 1970s after her first marriage ended.


“She reacted exactly as I had feared she would, as if she had learned of an infidelity,” Skinner wrote of Munro.

“We all went back to acting as if nothing had happened. It was what we did,” she added.

At 38, Skinner said she took her allegations to the police after Munro complimented her husband in a New York Times interview. Fremlin pleaded guilty in 2005 to indecent assault.


“What I wanted was some record of the truth, some public proof that I hadn’t deserved what had happened to me,” Skinner wrote.

“I also wanted this story, my story, to become part of the stories people tell about my mother,” she added.

Munro, who won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2013, died at 92 in May. Her death prompted glowing tributes, including from Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. — AFP

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