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Press Release: Conference to Celebrate Life of L.M. Montgomery

Thanks to Chris Yordy for sending me the following press release:

It’s been 100 years since Anne Shirley first peeked out of the pages of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables. An immediate success, the book would become one of the most-read and best-loved stories in the world. A century later, the University of Guelph is hosting a conference that will celebrate Montgomery’s life and her influence on Canada and the world.

Running Oct. 23 to 25, “From Canada to the World: the Cultural Influence of Lucy Maud Montgomery” will bring some of this country’s foremost Montgomery scholars and biographers to campus. The conference will feature a unique combination of lectures, performances, films, music, tours and exhibitions.

“L.M. Montgomery has enchanted millions of readers around the world, but she also had a tremendous effect on other writers and helped shape Canadian culture,” said Sue Bennett, director of University and community relations and one of the conference organizers.

“The themes Montgomery wrote about so adeptly and vividly were often drawn from her own experiences,” added Bennett. “She led a very complex life, and here at U of G, we’ve been lucky enough to glimpse some of her experiences through our L.M. Montgomery Collection. So it’s very fitting that we are hosting this important event.”

U of G has the largest collection of Montgomery memorabilia in Canada, including her handwritten journals, scrapbooks, handiwork, photo albums, legal and business papers, letters and the Order of the British Empire medal she received in 1935. It also contains original typescripts of some of her works, including Rilla of Ingleside. Montgomery wrote 22 novels during her lifetime and kept extensive journals from the time she was 14.

Guelph has also long been the academic home to two of the most pre-eminent Montgomery experts in the world—retired English professors Mary Rubio and Elizabeth Waterston. In the 1980s, they were asked by Montgomery’s son, Dr. Stuart Macdonald, to edit his mother’s personal journals. The works were published in five volumes of The Selected Journals of L.M. Montgomery.

Rubio has also written a biography about Montgomery, The Gift of Wings, which will be in bookstores next month. On Oct. 25, she will read from the biography and talk about the process of writing it.

Waterston will also speak, discussing Rilla of Ingleside as one of the few women’s war novels about the First World War. She also has a new book about Montgomery coming out this fall, Magic Island. Each chapter discusses a different Montgomery book, and Waterston draws parallels between Montgomery’s internal “island”—her personal life, her professional career—and the characters in her novels.

Other Saturday speakers include chief librarian and CIO Mike Ridley, who will explain the importance of the Montgomery collection to the University. In addition, Helen Salmon, associate chief librarian, and Lorne Bruce, head of archives and special collections, will talk about the collection and launch the L.M. Montgomery research centre website, which includes digitized images of the collection that make it visible and easily accessible.

Saturday will also feature a luncheon based on recipes from Montgomery’s personal cookbook. Food writer Liz Driver will discuss the cookbook as an artifact.

That evening, U of G chancellor Pamela Wallin will give a keynote address to conference participants.

Other conference highlights include a film screening and panel discussion at The Bookshelf Oct. 23 at 7 p.m.

A complete schedule and conference registration is available online.

More information about the film screening is available here:

“Takes on Maud,” a screening of two short films—I Know a Secret by Lucy Maud Montgomery and Boys and Girls by Alice Munro, produced by Atlantis Films—runs Oct. 23 at 7 p.m. at the Bookshelf Cinema. It will be followed by a panel discussion and reception in the E-Bar. Panellists are Michael MacMillan, executive chair of Alliance Atlantis; University professor emerita Elizabeth Waterston; Prof. Paul Salmon, English and Theatre Studies; and film historian Benjamin Lefebvre of the University of Alberta.

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  1. Bernice Bingham

    I am trying to find a book celebrating the life of L.M.Montgomery that I saw in the museum in Anne’s Land. I just returned to my home in USA and am so sad for not having had time to consider buying the book I saw in the home-museum that our tour took us to visit. It was in the home where L.M. Montgomery was married and if I understood correctly she did live there. The title of the book included that it was in celebration of 100 years since 1908. I can’t believe I did not buy it for the $20.00 but the bus was leaving and I needed to be on it. I thought surely I would see one like it at another stop, but I did not. If you can help me I would be most grateful. Visiting PEI was a highlight of our travels for sure. Thank you for your consideration in my behalf.

  2. Bernice Bingham

    I am hoping to find a book celebrating the life of L.M. Montgomery that also was of 100 year celebration since 1908. I hope you receive my explanation above. If I need to I will redo my request with more information to help you know which book. Thank you.

  3. Benjamin Lefebvre

    Was it Elizabeth Rollins Epperly’s book /Imagining Anne/, which reproduced extracts from two volumes of Montgomery’s scrapbooks? It was published this year and was part of the “100 Years of Anne” series by Penguin. If so, you could probably order it through or Barnes and Noble. If not, please check the “new and noteworthy” links at the top of the page–included there are a number of new books that were released this year. Otherwise, if you provide me with more details about what the book contained, I may be able to help you figure out which one it was.

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