Margaret Laurence (1926 – 1987)

Margaret Laurence

Margaret Laurence was one of Canada's preeminent novelists. Born in Neepawa, Manitoba, Laurence began writing stories and poetry at the age of seven. In 1947, she received an honours degree in English from United College in Winnipeg. Laurence published her first short story in 1954, while living in Ghana. Her first novel, This Side Jordan, published in 1960, was set in Ghana and reveals the author's growing political awareness and disenchantment with her own relative privilege. In her second novel, The Stone Angel (1964), Laurence created one of Canada's most memorable literary heroines, Hagar Shipley, an old woman who refuses to cede her independence. She wrote and published prolifically, receiving three Governor General's Literary Awards and numerous honours. Laurence's last novel, The Diviners (1974), explored the intimate relationship between a white woman and a Métis man. Now considered a Canadian classic, the book was widely banned when it was released.

“The struggle is not lost. I believe we have to live, as long as we live, in the expectation and hope of changing the world for the better. That may sound naive. It may even sound sentimental. Never mind: I believe it. What are we to live for, except life itself?”

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