For over 30 years, Robert Munsch has been one of the world’s most beloved children’s book authors, having written such exuberant classics as Murmel, Murmel, Murmel, The Paper Bag Princess and Mortimer. With a talent for cleverly injecting prickly subject matter and irony into humorous and accessible stories, the Guelph-area writer is also known for his bombastic readings—often in schools, where Munsch tends to surprise the students by showing up unannounced. But during an interview that aired this weekend on Global News’ 16:9, and through a message titled “Note to Parents” on his Web site, Canada’s King of Kidlit admitted to a history of alcohol and cocaine abuse (he has been attending 12-step recovery meetings for more than 25 years), as well as being manic depressive and suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Calling himself a “French-style drunk, who is quietly immersed in alcohol all the time,” Munsch noted that he started using cocaine five years ago (at age 59), and that his “crazy” public persona was counterbalanced by private despair. Although this will inevitably make us look a little differently at some of Munsch’s stories (just how hard did Moira want to party when she planned to invite every kid in school to her sixth birthday?), we hope he suffers no backlash from his brave admission. After all, if parents were worried about the purity of the authors of their children’s books, would Madonna have been able to get away with entering the genre?
• Munsch admits to cocaine, alcohol addiction [The Globe and Mail]
• Robert Munsch’s inner demons [The National Post]