Margaret Laurence

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ML was a mid-twentieth-century Canadian who began to publish while resident in Africa, putting her gift at the service of preserving oral folk literature through translation and adaptation. Already a journalist, she next turned her hand to essays, short stories, and travel writing. She is best known for her series of Manawaka novels: explorations of the lives of women from a closely imagined prairie community, whose experience takes in the whole span of her century.
Black-and-white portrait photo of Margaret Laurence. She is wearing thick, dark rimmed glasses and has short hair.
"Margaret Laurence" by Norman James, 1970-02-23. Retrieved from https://www.gettyimages.co.uk/detail/news-photo/novelist-margaret-laurence-has-produced-a-book-of-stories-news-photo/502329227. This image is licensed under the GETTY IMAGES CONTENT LICENCE AGREEMENT.

Milestones

18 July 1926
Jean Margaret Wemyss (later ML ) was born in Neepawa, Manitoba (the town which later modelled for her fictional Manawaka), her parents' only child.
“Contemporary Authors”. Gale Databases: Literature Resource Centre-LRC.
By December 1954
ML published her first book at Nairobi, Kenya: A Tree for Poverty: Somali Poetry and Prose, a volume collecting translations of folk literature composed in a language which was as yet exclusively oral.
Stovel, Nora Foster. Divining Margaret Laurence. A Study of Her Complete Writings. McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2008.
373, 6
7 February 1973
ML told the poet Al Purdy that she had finished The Diviners, and that her withdrawal symptoms on completing it were worse than usual because she had now brought her sequence of five Manawaka books to a close.
Stovel, Nora Foster. Divining Margaret Laurence. A Study of Her Complete Writings. McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2008.
170
May 1974
ML published her final novel, The Diviners, whose heroine, Morag Gunn, is another native of Manawaka.
Laurence, Margaret. Dance on the Earth: A Memoir. McClelland and Stewart, 1989.
210
Book Review Index. Gale Research.
(4) 3005
5 January 1987
ML , under diagnosis of terminal lung cancer, ended her own life at her home in Lakefield, Ontario.
Stovel, Nora Foster. Divining Margaret Laurence. A Study of Her Complete Writings. McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2008.
83
By August 1989
ML 's unfinished memoir, Dance On The Earth, was posthumously published, completed by her daughter, Jocelyn Laurence , with a photo by her son, David Laurence .
Stovel, Nora Foster. Divining Margaret Laurence. A Study of Her Complete Writings. McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2008.
318, 374

Biography

Birth and Background

18 July 1926
Jean Margaret Wemyss (later ML ) was born in Neepawa, Manitoba (the town which later modelled for her fictional Manawaka), her parents' only child.
“Contemporary Authors”. Gale Databases: Literature Resource Centre-LRC.