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Biography & Autobiography Women

Extraordinary Canadians: Lucy Maud Montgomery

by (author) Jane Urquhart

Penguin Group Canada
Initial publish date
Sep 2012
Women, Historical, Literary
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2012
    List Price

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While her beloved fictional characters inhabited a world where love and community could overcome most tribulations, Lucy Maud Montgomery’s own life was marked by inescapable grief and loneliness. Raised virtually as an orphan by grandparents unable to give her much affection, Montgomery was nevertheless an optimistic and enthusiastic young woman, able to delight in her literary success and in the company of her wider family and friends. But after marrying a clergyman beset by a debilitating mental illness, she struggled to maintain appearances. Even as she sustained her prolific output of fiction and won adoring fans worldwide, depression slowly engulfed her. Jane Urquhart explores the fascinating contradictions embodied by this enduring artist in whose fiction the imagination lights a way through the darkness, but in whose life the creeping shadows would ultimately shut out everything but the work.

About the author

Jane Urquhart was born in the far north of Ontario. She is the author of eight internationally acclaimed novels, among them The Whirlpool, which received France’s Prix du Meilleur Livre Étranger; Away, winner of the Trillium Award, The Underpainter, winner of the Governor General’s Award and a finalist for the Orange Prize in the UK and The Stone Carvers, which was a finalist for the Giller Prize, the Governor General’s Award and Britain’s Booker Prize. She is also the author of a collection of short fiction and four books of poetry. She has written a biography of Lucy Maud Montgomery and was editor of the Penguin Book of Canadian Short Stories. Her work, which is published in many countries, has been translated into numerous foreign languages. Urquhart has received the Marian Engel Award and the Harbourfront Festival Prize. She is a Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in France and is an Officer of the Order of Canada.

Urquhart has received ten honorary doctorates from Canadian universities, including the University of Toronto, University of Western Ontario and the Royal Military College of Canada. She has served on the Board of PEN Canada, on the Advisory Board for the Restoration of the Vimy Memorial and on several international prize juries including that of the International Dublin IMPAC Award, the Giller Prize, the Governor General’s Award for Fiction and the American International Neustadt Award.

Her most recent novel, The Night Stages, was released in 2015 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in the US, McClelland and Stewart in Canada and Oneworld in the UK.

Urquhart lives in southeastern Ontario with her husband, artist Tony Urquhart.

Jane Urquhart's profile page

Editorial Reviews

“A gem.” - London Free Press

“With its brevity, [Urquhart’s] book is a rich tour de force of Montgomery’s life.” - The Globe and Mail

“A beautifully crafted, if shockingly sad study of Lucy Maud Montgomery…. Urquhart … distils her famous subject to its essence…. Fascinating.” - Ottawa Citizen

“A poignant biography.” - Calgary Herald

“[The] choice of novelist Jane Urquhart … to pen a brief biography of Lucy Maud Montgomery was inspired…. The fit is perfect, and Urquhart’s wonderfully perceptive portrait of the richly talented Montgomery is without flaw…. A beautiful poetic biography, one which catches the essence of a remarkable personality.” - London Free Press

“A richly multi-layered portrait…. [An] excellent biography.” - Quill & Quire

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