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Who is H. H. Munro?

Niki Acker
By
Updated May 23, 2024
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Hector Hugh Munro, who often wrote under the pen name Saki, was a British writer of the Edwardian era. Though he wrote plays, two satires, and a short novel, he is best known for his humorous and macabre short stories.

Born in Akyab, Burma, then part of the British Empire, on 18 December 1870, H.H. Munro's mother died in 1872 following a traumatic incident with a runaway cow. He and his two siblings moved to England, where they were raised by their grandmother and unmarried aunts. Munro's father, an inspector-general with the Burma police, retired in 1887 and began spending time touring Europe with his children.

Munro returned to Burma (sometimes called Myanmar) to work in the police force at the age of 22, but a bout of malaria forced him to return to England 13 months later. After recovering, he began working as a journalist for a number of newspapers, including the Morning Post and the Westminster Gazette. For the latter publication, he wrote a series of satires based on Alice and Wonderland characters that would later be published as the novella-length The Westminster Alice. Munro's only non-fiction book, The Rise of the Russian Empire, was first published in 1900.

In the early 1900s, Munro began publishing collections of his witty, acerbic stories, often featuring recurring characters who parody Edwardian high society. He also began traveling as a newspaper correspondent, covering stories in the Balkans, Russia, and Paris. He moved back to England in 1907, shortly before his father's death.

Munro continued his work as a journalist and an author until World War I broke out in 1914. He enlisted and was stationed in Sussex. A year later, he was on the front in France. In 1916, Munro was hospitalized for malaria, but returned to his battalion after a month in response to news of an impending attack. On 13 November 1916, just days after leaving the hospital, he was killed on the front by a sniper.

Since his death, Munro has become widely considered one of the best short story writers in the English language. Stories such as "The Interlopers" and "The Open Window" are frequently anthologized. His stories are now public domain, and the full text of many can be found on the Internet.

PublicPeople is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Niki Acker
By Niki Acker
"In addition to her role as a PublicPeople editor, Niki Foster is passionate about educating herself on a wide range of interesting and unusual topics to gather ideas for her own articles. A graduate of UCLA with a double major in Linguistics and Anthropology, Niki's diverse academic background and curiosity make her well-suited to create engaging content for WiseGeekreaders. "
Discussion Comments
By anon149928 — On Feb 06, 2011

in each of his works, the autobiographical element was present there.

By dega2010 — On Nov 19, 2010

@googie98:

H.H. Munro’s pen name, Saki, actually means “cup bearer”. It is thought to be taken from either the New World Saki monkey “pitheciidae” or from the ancient Persian poem “The Rubayat of Omar Khayyam”.

Munro’s parents were Scotsman Charles Augustus Munro, who was an inspector general with the Burma police, and his mother was Mary Frances.

By googie98 — On Nov 19, 2010

I need a little more information on H.H. Munro.

By closerfan12 — On Aug 31, 2010

Is H.H. Munro related to the munro tartan or munro boots?

By anon81776 — On May 03, 2010

nice.

Niki Acker
Niki Acker
"In addition to her role as a PublicPeople editor, Niki Foster is passionate about educating herself on a wide range of...
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