Prof's LM Montgomery Book Up for Award

December 10, 2008 - News Release

A book by a retired English Prof. Mary Rubio has been shortlisted for the 2009 British Columbia National Award for Canadian Non-Fiction, Canada's largest literary non-fiction award. The announcement was made today by BC Premier Gordon Campbell.

Rubio's Lucy Maud Montgomery: The Gift of Wings was one of four books to make the shortlist, selected from a field of 163 nominated titles. The winner receives $40,000 and each of the finalists receive $2,500. Results will be announced Feb. 2 in Vancouver.

The Gift of Wings 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. Montgomery published 22 books of fiction during her lifetime and kept extensive journals from the time she was 14.

"This nomination really honours Montgomery, a writer beloved around the world, on the 100th anniversary of the publication of her first novel, Anne of Green Gables," Rubio said.

Rubio added that she hopes the recognition draws attention to U of G's extensive Montgomery archival holdings. The University 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 and letters.

Rubio spent more than two decades doing research for the book, including extensive interviews with people who knew the literary icon best, including her son, friends, maids and relatives. She also travelled to Poland and Scotland collecting information.

One of the pre-eminent Montgomery experts in the world, Rubio was asked by Montgomery's son, Stuart Macdonald, to edit his mother's personal journals. She and retired English professor Elizabeth Waterston edited and published five volumes of The Selected Journals of L.M. Montgomery. Waterston also published a book on Montgomery this year, Magic Island, which offers a fresh look at Montgomery's creative genius.

Now in its fifth year, the B.C. National Award for Canadian Non-Fiction celebrates the best non-fiction writing from across Canada and spotlights this literary genre and its significance to Canadians. It was established and endowed by the Province of British Columbia.

The other four finalists contending for the 2009 prize are: Daphne Bramham, The Secret Lives of Saints: Child Brides and Lost Boys in Canada's Polygamous Mormon Sect; Christopher Shulgan, The Soviet Ambassador: The Making of the Radical Behind Perestroika; and Russell Wangersky, Burning Down the House: Fighting Fires and Losing Myself.

Past award recipients include Noah Richler for This Is My Country, What's Yours? In 2007 and Lorna Goodison for From Harvey River in 2008.

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

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