What do two women who are pillars of Canadian literature talk about when put in an interview setting? For Margaret Atwood and Alice Munro, it means a conversation that meanders from Munro's love for short stories ("it turned out I had no talent for writing novels anyway") to a shared love for flawed characters ("Has anybody ever written a book that was really good with people who were nice all the time, or even part of the time?").

The authors took part in a Google Hangout hosted by Random House Canada, with the notoriously difficult-to-pin-down Munro being questioned by Atwood for Selected Shorts, a public radio show based in New York City, for an evening dedicated to honouring her Nobel Prize in Literature. Since winning the award in October, Munro has taken part in minimal interviews, even declining to attend the ceremony, but appears to have made an exception for a talk with her longtime buddy. Virtually, at least, as she tuned in from her home in Victoria.

Munro and Atwood's friendship is well-documented (Munro even has a framed picture in the background of the interview), which is probably what allowed Atwood to ask questions about the hate mail Munro receives and questions like "Why can't your characters be more likeable?"

Despite the occasional technological glitch, it's a fun, intimate look at how two icons who wear the crown of literary celebrity lightly interact when given the opportunity, complete with giggles and eye rolls. And if anyone can figure out at least five books on Munro's bookshelf, we want to know.

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  • Virginia Woolf

    <strong>Must Read:</strong> <em>To The Lighthouse</em>

  • Alice Walker

    <strong>Must Read:</strong> <em>The Colour Purple</em>

  • Alice Munro

    <strong>Must Read:</strong> <em>Lives of Girls and Women</em>

  • Margaret Atwood

    <strong>Must Read:</strong> <em>Cat's Eye</em>

  • Carol Shields

    <strong>Must Read:</strong> <em>The Stone Diaries</em>

  • Zora Neale Hurston

    <strong>Must Read:</strong> <em>Their Eyes Were Watching God</em>

  • Louisa May Alcott

    <strong>Must Read:</strong> <em>Little Women</em>

  • Lucy Maud Montgomery

    <strong>Must Read:</strong> <em>Anne Of Green Gables</em>

  • Harper Lee

    <strong>Must Read:</strong> <em>To Kill A Mockingbird</em>

  • Willa Cather

    <strong>Must Read:</strong> My Antonia

  • Toni Morrison

    <strong>Must Read:</strong><em> Beloved</em>

  • Mary Shelley

    <strong>Must Read:</strong> <em>Frankenstein</em>

  • Christina Rossetti

    <strong>Must Read:</strong> <em>Goblin Market</em>

  • Jane Austen

    <strong>Must Read:</strong> <em>Pride And Prejudice</em>

  • Kate Atkinson

    <strong>Must Read:</strong> <em>Life After Life</em>

  • Sylvia Plath

    <strong>Must Read:</strong> <em>The Bell Jar</em>

  • George Eliot

    <strong>Must Read:</strong> <em>Middlemarch</em>

  • Joan Didion

    <strong>Must Read:</strong> <em>Slouching Towards Bethlehem</em>

  • Judy Blume

    <strong>Must Read:</strong> <em>Forever</em>

  • Barbara Kingsolver

    <strong>Must Read:</strong> <em>The Poisonwood Bible</em>

  • E. Annie Proulx

    <strong>Must Read:</strong> <em>The Shipping News</em>

  • Ann-Marie MacDonald

    <strong>Must Read:</strong> <em>The Way the Crow Flies</em>

  • Barbara Gowdy

    <strong>Must Read:</strong> <em>The White Bone</em>

  • Jane Urquhart

    <strong>Must Read:</strong> <em>The Stone Carvers</em>

  • Evelyn Lau

    <strong>Must Read:</strong> <em>Oedipal Dreams</em>

  • Lorrie Moore

    <strong>Must Read:</strong> <em>A Gate at the Stairs</em>

  • Maya Angelou

    <strong>Must Read:</strong> <em>I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings</em>

  • Agatha Christie

    <strong>Must Read:</strong> <em>Murder on the Orient Express</em>

  • Lisa Moore

    <strong>Must Read:</strong> <em>Open</em>

  • Sarah Selecky

    <strong>Must Read:</strong> <em>This Cake is for the Party</em>

  • Kit Pearson

    <strong>Must Read:</strong> <em> A Handful of Time</em>

  • Gabrielle Roy

    <strong>Must Read:</strong> <em>Bonheur D'Occasion</em>

  • Pat Barker

    <strong>Must Read</strong> <em>Regeneration</em>

  • Carson McCullers

    <strong>Must Read:</strong> <em>The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter</em>

  • Caitlin Moran

    <strong>Must Read:</strong> <em>How To be A Woman </em>

  • Iris Murdoch

    <strong>Must Read:</strong> <em>The Sea, The Sea</em>

  • Amy Tan

    <strong>Must Read:</strong> <em>The Joy Luck Club</em>

  • J. K. Rowling

    <strong>Must Read:</strong> <em>Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone</em>

  • Charlotte Brontë

    <strong>Must Read:</strong> <em>Jane Eyre</em>

  • Emily Brontë

    <strong>Must Read:</strong> <em>Wuthering Heights</em>

  • Anne Brontë

    <strong>Must Read:</strong> <em>Agnes Grey</em>

  • Edith Wharton

    <strong>Must Read:</strong> <em>House of Mirth</em>

  • Elizabeth Hay

    <strong>Must Read:</strong> <em> Late Nights On Air</em>

  • Anne Hébert

    <strong>Must Read:</strong> <em>Kamouraska </em>

  • Gwendolyn MacEwen

    <strong>Must Read:</strong> <em>The T.E. Lawrence Poems</em>

  • Alice Sebold

    <strong>Must Read:</strong> <em>The Lovely Bones</em>

  • Tova Reich

    <strong>Must Read:</strong> <em>One Hundred Philistine Foreskins</em>

  • Cynthia Ozick

    <strong>Must Read:</strong> <em>The Pagan Rabbi and Other Stories</em>

  • Margaret Laurence

    <strong>Must Read:</strong> <em>The Stone Angel</em>

  • Zsuzsi Gartner

    <strong>Must Read:</strong> <em>Living Through Plastic Explosives</em>

  • Maggie Helwig

    <strong>Must Read:</strong> <em>Girls Fall Down</em>