Books Take Fresh Look at Life, Work of L.M. Montgomery

October 07, 2008 - News Release

Two new books that provide never-before-seen glimpses into the life and mind of Canadian author Lucy Maud Montgomery will be launched at the University of Guelph Oct. 17.

They were written by two of the pre-eminent Montgomery experts in the world — U of G professors emeritae Mary Rubio and Elizabeth Waterston of the School of English and Theatre Studies. Rubio's Lucy Maud Montgomery: The Gift of Wings is a biography of the literary icon, and Waterston's Magic Island: The Fictions of L. M. Montgomery offers a fresh look at Montgomery's creative genius.

Rubio and Waterston will read from their books, talk about their respective writing processes and take questions from the audience from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. in Room 103 of the University Centre. The event is free and open to the public, and books will be available for purchase and signing.

This is the official launch of both books, and Rubio's long-awaited biography is being made available prior to its official publication date as part of Guelph's “From Canada to the World: The Cultural Influence of Lucy Maud Montgomery" conference, which runs Oct. 23 to 25. It celebrates Montgomery's life and her influence on Canada and the world, and will bring some of Canada's foremost Montgomery scholars and biographers to campus.

Rubio and Waterston have been collaborating, researching and writing about Montgomery's life since 1975. They edited the author's personal journals, publishing the works in five volumes of The Selected Journals of L.M. Montgomery. The two also collaborated on Writing A Life: L.M. Montgomery, a short biography of the author that journeys "behind the scenes" of her life. It's available online at

Rubio spent more than two decades doing research for Gift of Wings, including extensive interviews with people who knew Montgomery best, including her son, friends, maids and relatives, all of whom are now deceased. She also travelled to Poland and Scotland collecting information. The book is an intimate narrative that covers Montgomery's childhood in Prince Edward Island, her adolescence, her legal fights as a world-famous author and difficulties with marriage, motherhood and her celebrity.

In 1966, Waterston became the first academic to publish a serious in-depth treatment of Montgomery's work. Magic Island draws on the sympathetic study she has devoted to Montgomery ever since. Magic Island discusses a different Montgomery book in each chapter and draws parallels between the author's internal "island" — her personal life, her professional career — and the characters in her novels. It also explores how Montgomery's intelligence, drive and sense of humour were components of her creative success.

Montgomery published 22 books of fiction during her lifetime and kept extensive journals from the time she was 14. U of G is home to the largest collection of original Montgomery memorabilia in Canada, including manuscripts, her handwritten journals, scrapbooks, handiwork, photo albums, legal and business papers, letters and the Order of the British Empire medal she received in 1935.

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, 519-824-4120, Ext. 53338/, or Deirdre Healey, Ext. 56982/

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