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Fiction Anthologies (multiple Authors)

Gifts to Last

Christmas Stories from the Maritimes and Newfoundland

by (author) Walter Learning, Lucy Maud Montgomery, Deirdre Kessler, Alistair MacLeod, Tessie Gillis, Clive Doucet, Carol Bruneau, Lawrence O'Toole, Antonine Maillet, Alden Nowlan, Helen Fogwill Porter, Joseph Sherman, Ray Guy, M.T. Dohaney, David Adams Richards, Jon Conway Dewar, Ellison Robertson, Deannie Sullivan-Fraser, Herb Curtis & Grahame Woods

Goose Lane Editions
Initial publish date
Jan 1996
Anthologies (multiple authors)
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Jan 1996
    List Price

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Christmas a-glitter, Christmas on a shoestring. Christmas wrecked. Christmas salvaged. Christmas in city, village and country, in church and shopping mall and barn — they're all here, in stories by the best writers in the Maritimes and Newfoundland. Walter Learning's Christmas treat opens with "Matthew Insists on Puffed Sleeves," from Anne of Green Gables. Stars such as Alistair MacLeod and Antonine Maillet join their voices with regional favourites including Herb Curtis, Deirdre Kessler, and Helen Fogwill Porter. Goose Lane's own adaptation of David Adams Richards's screenplay Small Gifts is published here for the first time. Grahame Woods's adaptation of Gordon Pinsent's pilot for the CBC-TV series A Gift to Last ends this fulfilling celebration.

About the authors

Walter Learning, a popular actor, director, and broadcaster, has served as artistic director at the Confederation Centre for the Arts and the Charlottetown Festival, and at the Vancouver Playhouse. He was founding artistic director of Theatre New Brunswick in Fredericton, and in 1995 he returned to TNB as executive producer.

Walter Learning's profile page

Lucy Maud Montgomery was born in Clifton (now New London), Prince Edward Island, in 1874. After the death of her mother in 1876, Montgomery was raised by her maternal grandparents in the nearby community of Cavendish. She received a teaching certificate in 1894, and studied literature at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, in 1895. After a brief career as a teacher at various island schools, she moved back to Cavendish in 1898. In 1911, she married the Reverend Ewan Macdonald and moved to Leaskdale, Ontario, where Macdonald was minister in the Presbyterian Church. A prolific writer, she published a number of short stories, poems, and novels, but is best known for Anne of Green Gables and its sequels: Anne of Avonlea, Anne of the Island, Anne of Windy Poplars, Anne's House of Dreams, Anne of Ingleside, Rainbow Valley, and Rilla Of Ingleside. Montgomery died in Toronto in 1942 and was buried in her beloved Cavendish, Prince Edward Island.

Lucy Maud Montgomery's profile page

Deirdre Kessler. Charlottetown writer Deirdre Kessler is the author of five children's novels and five picture books, as well as poetry, plays, non-fiction and radio documentaries. She teaches children's literature and creative writing at the University of Prince Edward Island. "Home for Christmas" was published as an illustrated book by Pottersfield Press (1989) and appears here by permission of the publisher and the author.

Deirdre Kessler's profile page

Alistair MacLeod was born in Saskatchewan in 1936 and raised in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. He has published two internationally acclaimed collections of short stories: The Lost Salt Gift of Blood (1976) and As Birds Bring Forth the Sun (1986). In 2000, these two books, accompanied by two new stories, were published as Island: The Collected Stories of Alistair MacLeod. In 1999, MacLeod's first novel, No Great Mischief, was published to stellar critical acclaim. The novel won the Dartmouth Book Award, the Thomas Raddall Atlantic Fiction Award, The Trillium Award, the CAA Award, and the Canadian Booksellers Association Libris Awards for Fiction Book of the Year and Author of the Year. In 2001, No Great Mischief was awarded the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, one of the world's most prestigious literary prizes.

Alistair MacLeod's profile page

Born in Montana in 1910, Tessie Gillis in the 1950s came with her husband Joe to Rear Glencoe in Inverness County to live the hard, satisfying life of rural Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. Illness finally gave her the opportunity to write, and her friend and editor Evelyn Garbary helped her bloom into one of Cape Breton's finest writers. Daring to write about the darker elements of rural life, Tessie Gillis has emerged as the Godmother of Cape Breton Fiction. She died in 1972.

Tessie Gillis' profile page

An urban anthropologist by training, Clive Doucet is a graduate of the universities of Toronto and Montreal, and has worked for many years as a public servant at both the federal and provincial levels. He is currently the regional councillor for Capital Ward in Ottawa, Ontario. Doucet's literary credits include two novels, a memoir, novellas, and three books of poetry. Clive Doucet has also worked with the CBC, covering the first world reunion of the Acadians in New Brunswick for CBC Radio. Doucet is married with two children and lives in Ottawa.

Clive Doucet's profile page

Carol Bruneau's most recent title from Cormorant Books is Glass Voices. She is also the author of Berth. Her novel Purple For Sky (Cormorant, 2000) won the City of Dartmouth Fiction Prize and the Thomas H. Raddall Atlantic Fiction Prize. She is also the author of two collections of short stories, Depth Rapture and After the Angel Mill, both published by Cormorant Books. She has taught creative writing in the continuing education departments of Mount St.Vincent University and Nova Scotia Community College; she is now on faculty of the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design University, where she teaches writing. Carol lives in Halifax with her husband and three sons.

Carol Bruneau's profile page

Lawrence O'Toole. Originally from Renews, Newfoundland, Lawrence O'Toole became well known as a movie critic for Maclean's; he now lives in New York. A version of "Goodbye to the Wren and the Fools" appeared in Saturday Night in December 1990 and, in a different form, in Heart's Longing: Newfoundland, New York and the Distance Home (1994). This version of "Goodbye to the Wren and the Fools" appears by permission of the author.

Lawrence O'Toole's profile page

Born in Bouctouche, New Brunswick in 1929, Antonine Maillet is one of Canada's best-known writers both at home and abroad. The soul of contemporary Acadian literature, Maillet has been responsible for generating pride in her people through her stories depicting strong-willed Acadians. She is the author of dozens of books, including the award-winning and highly celebrated La Sagouine and The Tale of Don L'Orignal. She has also written children's books, radio and television scripts, and more than a dozen plays. Maillet was the first non-French citizen to win the prestigious Prix Goncourt for Pélagie-la-Charette. With that epic novel, she gained recognition for Acadia as she herself became more known throughout the world as a spokesperson for her people. Among her many literary prizes are the Prix France-Canada and the Governor General's Award. She is also a Companion of the Order of Canada (1982), Member of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada, Officer of the National Order of Québec, Officier des arts et des lettres and Officer des Palme's académiques in France, and Commandeur de l'Ordre du mérite culturel in Monaco. She has received honorary degrees from more than 25 universities in Canada and abroad and has served as chancellor of Université de Moncton, her alma mater.

Antonine Maillet's profile page

Alden Nowlan (1933-1983) was born in Windsor, NS. Primarily self-educated, Nowlan worked as a newspaperman, and published poetry, plays, short stories, and novels. Writer-in-residence at the University of New Brunswick from 1969 to 1983, he was famous for the gatherings at his home, known as Windsor Castle. His awards include the Governor General's Award for Poetry in 1967 for Bread, Wine and Salt and a Guggenheim Fellowship (1967-68). Alden Nowlan: Selected Poems was published in 1996. The literary award for excellence for the province of New Brunswick is named in his honour. The annual Alden Nowlan Literary Festival in Fredericton honours his contribution to Canadian literature.

Alden Nowlan's profile page

Helen Fogwill Porter #&40;b. 1939) was born in Newfoundland and lives in St. John's. "One Saturday#&34; appeared in The Pottersfield Portfolio (1983) and was included in her collection, A Long and Lonely Ride (Breakwater, 1991#&41;. A memoir, Below the Bridge, appeared in 1980 (Breakwater#&41;, and she was honoured with the Newfoundland and Labrador Lifetime Acheivement Award in 1993.

Helen Fogwill Porter's profile page

Joseph Sherman. The author of four collections of poetry, Joseph Sherman has been the editor of ARTSatlantic, Charlottetown, since 1979. A version of "A Jewish Child's Christmas in Cape Breton" was part of a longer memoir, written in 1970, when Sherman was a graduate student at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton. In slightly different form, it was broadcast locally and regionally on CBC Radio at Christmas, 1994. It appears here by permission of the author.

Joseph Sherman's profile page

Ray Guy was a Newfoundland journalist and humourist best known for his satirical newspaper and magazine columns. He was born in Come By Chance, Placentia Bay, to George Hynes and Alice Louise Guy, but was raised and schooled in Arnold’s Cove, the community that was to provide fodder for many of his columns. Guy studied journalism at Ryerson Polytechnic Institute. After graduation, he wrote for the St. John’s Evening Telegram 1963–1974, and his columns also appeared in magazines such as Atlantic Insight and the Newfoundland Quarterly. His writings included political satire and humorous essays on life in a Newfoundland outport, and his columns in the Evening Telegram often criticized the policies and ridiculed the excesses of Premier Joseph Smallwood, during a time when political opposition to Smallwood was ineffectual. In 1977, Ray Guy received the Stephen Leacock Award for the collection, That Far Greater Bay. In 1979, Gordon Pinsent created Up at Ours, a half-hour CBC St. John’s television series that starred Mary Walsh as the owner of a boarding house and Ray Guy as the principal boarder. In 1985, Walsh appeared in and directed a stage play written by Guy, Young Triffie’s Been Made Away With, which Walsh directed as a film in 2006, promoted in some markets under the shorter title Young Triffie. Guy also appeared as a commentator on the CBC St. John’s news program Here & Now. He was awarded an honorary doctorate by Memorial University of Newfoundland in 2001. Guy also wrote a monthly column for the Northeast Avalon Times. Other books to Ray Guy’s credit include You May Know Them As Sea Urchins, Ma’am (1975), Outhouses of the East (1978), Beneficial Vapors (1981), An Heroine for Our Time (1983), This Dear and Fine Country (1985), Ray Guy’s Best (1987), and Ray Guy: The Smallwood Years (2008). Ray Guy passed away on May 14, 2013 in St. John’s, NL.

Ray Guy's profile page

M.T. (Jean) Dohaney was born in the small village of Point Verde, Placentia Bay, Newfoundland. She moved to Fredericton in 1954, where she completed her BA in English at the University of New Brunswick. She holds both a MA and PhD in literature from the University of Maine and Boston University, respectively. In 1988, she released her first book, The Corrigan Women, which was followed by To Scatter Stones in 1992, A Marriage of Masks in 1996 and A Fit Month for Dying in 2000. She is presently working on script for the feature film, Come Back Paddy Riley, with Amnon Buchbinder, based on a chapter from A Fit Month for Dying.

M.T. Dohaney's profile page

David Adams Richards studied English from 1970 to 1973, when he left university to become a full-time writer. Although known mainly as a novelist, he has written poetry, short stories, non-fiction, screenplays, and biography. He has won many important awards, including the Governor General's Award both for fiction (Nights Below Station Street, M&S, 1988) and for non-fiction (Lines on the Water, Doubleday, 1998). Mercy Among the Children (Doubleday) was co-winner of the Giller Prize in 2000. In 1993, he was awarded an honorary doctorate by STU.

David Adams Richards' profile page

Jon Conway Dewar. A Saint John writer, Jon Conway Dewar won the Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia Atlantic Canadian Literary Competition for drama in 1991. “One Turkey Extra” was first published in The New Brunswick Reader in 1994 and appears here by permission of the author. He dedicates this story to the memory of his father, Oliver Dewar.

Jon Conway Dewar's profile page

Ellison Robertson. Readers of New Maritimes will be familiar with Ellison Robertson's evocative stories of industrial Cape Breton, his articles and his paintings. A native of Sydney, Nova Scotia, he now lives in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia. His novel In Love with Then was published by Goose Lane Editions in 1992. "Oh, Oh, Oh" appears here by permission of the author.

Ellison Robertson's profile page

Deannie Sullivan-Fraser's is the author of a family musical, Time Shadows, where she wrote the play and the music. One of the songs, Making Tracks was recorded for Sesame Street. Two other songs, I Had a Place and You're my World have been recorded by the Ontario group, Arane. Deannie is taking her Masters in Atlantic Canada Studies at St. Mary's University in Halifax. She is currently writing her thesis, Home Medicine of Rose Blanche, Newfoundland. Deannie has also written articles for The Chronicle Herald and The Daily News and various other publications. She has worked as an associate producer, production assistant and researcher for CBC Radio's Mainstreet, a researcher for Vision's Reinventing Rituals, Marrying Well, Street Cents, Land & Sea and CBC special documentaries series, as well as historical feature film, Butterbox Babies. Johnny and the Gipsy Moth is based on an amazing event in her young father's life.

Deannie Sullivan-Fraser's profile page

Herb Curtis (b. 1949) has lived all his life in New Brunswick; he moves between Fredericton and the Miramichi, where he guides visiting salmon fishermen. His masterpiece, The Brennan Siding Trilogy (Goose Lane, 1997), is a compilation of his first three novels, The Americans Are Coming (1989, 1999), The Last Tasmanian (1991, 2001) and The Lone Angler (1993). A different version of "The Party" appears in The Last Tasmanian.

Herb Curtis' profile page

Grahame Woods and Gordon Pinsent. As well as starring in the CBC-TV series A Gift to Last, Gordon Pinsent wrote the teleplays for the pilot and many of the subsequent episodes. Grahame Woods, a novelist and television playwright, novelized the series from Pinsent's teleplays. Woods also wrote the book for the musical stage version, with music and lyrics by Joey Miller; it has been performed at Christmas and in summer theatres since the late 1980s. Walter Learning and Alden Nowlan dramatized Gordon Pinsent's pilot for the stage, and this play, also titled A Gift to Last, has been performed throughout Canada to great acclaim. "A Gift to Last," the prose version of Gordon Pinsent's pilot and the first three chapters of Grahame Woods's book A Gift to Last (1978) © Grahame Woods, is reprinted by permission of Seal Books.

Grahame Woods' profile page

Other titles by Walter Learning

Other titles by Lucy Maud Montgomery

Other titles by Deirdre Kessler

Other titles by Alistair MacLeod

Other titles by Tessie Gillis

Other titles by Clive Doucet

Other titles by Carol Bruneau

Other titles by Antonine Maillet

Other titles by Alden Nowlan

Other titles by Helen Fogwill Porter

Other titles by Joseph Sherman

Other titles by Ray Guy

Other titles by M.T. Dohaney

Other titles by David Adams Richards

Other titles by Ellison Robertson

Other titles by Deannie Sullivan-Fraser

Other titles by Herb Curtis