Menu Close

Category: Books

L.M. Montgomery YA Novel Set for 2015

Last week, a press release announced that Penguin Canada had acquired a young adult novel based on the adolescent life of L.M. Montgomery. Its author, Melanie J. Fishbane, recently received her MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. She has also blogged on this site before (and she knows more about YA fiction than anyone else I know!). The novel will be published under Penguin Canada’s Razorbill imprint in 2015, with the support of L.M. Montgomery’s heirs.

This is a very exciting project. Although Montgomery’s fiction has been reimagined, extended, and transformed in innumerable ways—prequels, adaptations for stage and screen, parodies, and abridgements—her own life is far less known to most readers of her books. Yet many readers of her journals and letters find her own life story just as fascinating and compelling—if not more so—as her fiction. In fact, so far her life story has been dramatized solely for the stage: Don Hannah’s The Wooden Hill (1994), Anne Kathleen McLaughlin’s Maud of Cavendish (2004), Leo Marchildon and Adam-Michael James’s The Nine Lives of L.M. Montgomery (2008), and Maud of Leaskdale (2012). This will be the first time that Montgomery’s own life story is tackled in print outside the genre of biography, and it will also be the first such project to focus exclusively on Montgomery’s young life as an adolescent.

I’m very much looking forward to this exciting project, which will introduce a new take of Montgomery’s life to an audience of readers who will likely discover, as have readers of her life writing already, that she is just as compelling a protagonist as her best-known characters.

Announcing The L.M. Montgomery Reader, Volume 1

Announcing the forthcoming publication of The L.M. Montgomery Reader, Volume 1: A Life in Print, which will be published by University of Toronto Press in December 2013.

The L.M. Montgomery Reader assembles significant primary material on one of Canada’s most enduringly popular authors throughout her high-profile career and after her death. Each of its three volumes gathers pieces published all over the world to set the stage for a much-needed reassessment of Montgomery’s literary reputation. Much of the material is freshly unearthed from archives and digital collections and has never before been published in book form.

The selections appearing in this first volume focus on Montgomery’s role as a public celebrity and as the author of the resoundingly successful Anne of Green Gables (1908). They give a strong impression of her as a writer and cultural critic as she discusses a range of topics with wit, wisdom, and humour, including the natural landscape of Prince Edward Island, her wide readership, anxieties about modernity, and the continued relevance of “old ideals.” These essays and interviews are augmented by additional pieces that discuss her work’s literary and cultural value in relation to an emerging canon of Canadian literature.

Each volume is accompanied by an extensive introduction and detailed commentary by leading Montgomery scholar Benjamin Lefebvre that trace the interplay between the author and the critic, as well as between the private and public Montgomery. This volume—and the Reader as a whole—adds tremendously to our understanding and appreciation of Montgomery’s legacy as a Canadian author and as a literary celebrity both during and beyond her lifetime.

Rilla in Paperback!

I received my copies this week of the paperback version of the edition of L.M. Montgomery’s Rilla of Ingleside that I edited jointly with Andrea McKenzie and that was published in hardcover last October. The official street date is next Tuesday, 1 November 2011, but it’s already available for order at Amazon.ca and for purchase at bookstores. Order or buy your copy today!

Rilla of Ingleside—originally written as the final sequel to Anne of Green Gables—focuses on Rilla Blythe, the pretty and high-spirited youngest daughter of Anne Shirley. The novel paints a vivid and compelling picture of the women who battled to keep the home fires burning throughout the tumultuous years of the First World War. Using her own wartime experience, Montgomery recreates the laughter and grief, poignancy and suspense, struggles and courage of Canadian women at war. This special gift edition includes Montgomery’s complete, restored, and unabridged original text, as well as a thoughtful introduction from the editors, a detailed glossary, maps of Europe during the war, and war poems by L.M. Montgomery and her contemporary Virna Sheard.

“A tried-and-true wartime novel. . . . Poignant, funny, sentimental, ironic, suspenseful, and heartbreaking.”
Toronto Star

“An essential purchase for all libraries, a wonderful read for adults and youth aged twelve and up, and a great resource for students of World War I. Highly recommended.”
CM Magazine

Rilla Chosen as “Favourite YA Fiction from 2010”

The new edition of Rilla of Ingleside has been chosen as “Favourite YA Fiction from 2010” by Melanie Fishbane:

Perhaps by saying that this is a new book, we can begin to see it in a new way. Even as possibly one of the first YA novels in Canada?

Read the full post. Visit the book’s official website. Visit the book’s official Facebook page.

Rilla in Record and Mercury

The new edition of Rilla of Ingleside is also mentioned in today’s Kitchener–Waterloo Record as well as in today’s Guelph Mercury as a suggested gift book for the holiday season.

This is a new “gift edition” of a novel first published in 1921. It’s the novel that Lucy Maude [sic] Montgomery then expected would be the final sequel to Anne of Green Gables. The story concerns Rilla Blythe, the youngest daughter of Anne Shirley, and is set during the First World War. Editions of this novel published in 1976 and 1985 removed about four per cent of the original text, which has now been restored in this volume. Editors of the book are Benjamin Lefebvre, a Waterloo literary scholar, and Andrea McKenzie, a University of Waterloo graduate who is now a director of writing at New York University.

Join the discussion on Facebook and order your copy today!

Rilla of Ingleside Recommended in Toronto Star

The new edition of Rilla of Ingleside is mentioned in Deirdre Baker’s article “Holiday Reads: Gift Books for Kids” in yesterday’s Toronto Star:

For a tried and-true wartime novel, especially for L. M. Montgomery fans old or young, look for the new gift edition, restored and unabridged, of Rilla of Ingleside (Viking, 390 pages, $26, ages 10+). This 1921 story of rural Canadian women during World War I is still poignant, funny, sentimental, ironic, suspenseful and heartbreaking. Rilla, the youngst daughter of Anne of Green Gables, develops fortitude, humour and depth as she helps out in war work, adopts an abandoned baby and suffers through her brothers’ sacrifices at the Front.

Available Today

Published today are the paperback version of my edition of L.M. Montgomery’s rediscovered final book, The Blythes Are Quoted, and a restored and annotated edition of Montgomery’s First World War novel, Rilla of Ingleside, edited in collaboration with Andrea McKenzie. Both are now available in bookstores across Canada and will soon appear at local libraries. They can also be shipped worldwide if ordered from Amazon.ca or from Penguin Canada.

bq-2010-penguincanada Rilla of Ingleside (Viking Canada, 2010)

Rilla Notes 3

Included in our edition of Rilla of Ingleside is a bonus section entitled “Canadian Women’s Poetry of the First World War,” which contains the full text of two rarely seen poems that, like the novel, focus on the women at home who watched husbands, sons, brothers, friends, and neighbours go off to fight overseas. L.M. Montgomery’s poem “Our Women” was first published in the collection of poems Canadian Poems of the Great War (1918). Also included in this anthology is a poem called “The Young Knights” by Montgomery’s Ontario contemporary, Virna Sheard, whose work is virtually unknown today. Montgomery selected the first stanza of Sheard’s poem as her epigraph to Rilla of Ingleside.

Blythes Notes 2

When putting together The Blythes Are Quoted near the end of her life, L.M. Montgomery repeated the strategy she had used when putting together Chronicles of Avonlea three decades earlier: she rewrote existing stories about unrelated characters and locations in order to include mentions of and brief appearances by Anne. In looking for material that could be reworked for Anne and her family, Montgomery selected not only some of her short stories published throughout the 1930s, but also a few that she was not able to publish.

Three of the short stories were published in Family Herald and Weekly Star, a Montreal farm magazine, and the first short story in the book is also the earliest. “Some Fools and a Saint” was published in its original form in Family Herald and Weekly Star in four instalments in May and June 1931; this version was also reprinted in the collection of short stories Among the Shadows: Tales from the Darker Side. The original version of “Fool’s Errand” followed in February 1933, and the original version of “An Afternoon with Mr. Jenkins” appeared in August 1933. Note that these stories in their original form had nothing to do with Anne, the Blythes, or the community of Glen St. Mary.

Three more stories were published elsewhere throughout the 1930s. Several more appear in Montgomery’s records of her income as a writer, indicating that they were in fact published in the original form, but we haven’t yet been able to determine where. Three of the short stories, though, don’t appear on Montgomery’s ledger: “The Pot and the Kettle,” “The Reconciliation,” and “Retribution.” Was their inclusion in The Blythes Are Quoted an attempt by Montgomery to salvage work that was deemed too controversial for magazine publication?

Rilla Notes 2

Ever read Rilla of Ingleside and wonder what is meant by “fruitatives,” “ANZACs,” “Banshee,” “battalion runner,” “Black Sunday,” or “cootie sarks”? Or what happened at the Battles of Aisne, Cambrai, Caporetto, Courcelette, Marne, or New Chapelle, or in the Canadian election of 1917? Or the role played in the First World War by Herbert Asquith, Sir Robert Borden, Sir Julian Byng, Constantine of Greece, Nicholas II, Sir Samuel Hughes, or Woodrow Wilson? The new edition of L.M. Montgomery’s Rilla of Ingleside includes a detailed glossary with over 330 entries, from literary allusions and cultural customs to significant dates, locations, and events related to the First World War.

Announcement: A New, Restored Edition of Rilla of Ingleside

Rilla of Ingleside (Viking Canada, 2010)I’m pleased to announce the forthcoming publication of a new, restored edition of L.M. Montgomery’s First World War novel, Rilla of Ingleside, edited by Benjamin Lefebvre and Andrea McKenzie, which will be published on 26 October 2010 by Viking Canada.

First published in 1921, Rilla of Ingleside—originally written as the final sequel to Anne of Green Gables—is one of the only contemporary depictions in Canadian fiction of women on the home front during the First World War. Focusing on Rilla Blythe, the pretty and high-spirited youngest daughter of Anne Shirley, the novel paints a vivid and compelling picture of the women who battled to keep the home fires burning throughout those tumultuous years. Using her own wartime experience and imagination, Montgomery recreates the laughter and grief, poignancy and suspense, struggles and courage of Canadian women at war.

This special gift edition includes Montgomery’s complete, restored, and unabridged original text as well as a thoughtful introduction from the editors, a detailed glossary, maps of Europe during the war, and war poems by L.M. Montgomery and her contemporary Virna Sheard.

The publication of this edition of Rilla of Ingleside will coincide with the release in paperback of The Blythes Are Quoted by Penguin Canada.

Penguin Canada: Recent Foreign Deals

A recent “Industry News” column by Zoe Whittall appeared recently on the Quill & Quire website:

Penguin Canada has a number of foreign deals to report: . . . Hindi rights to the 100th Anniversary Edition of Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery went to Penguin Books India; Shinchosha have acquired Japanese rights to The Blythes Are Quoted by L.M. Montgomery. . . .

Also, Kerry Clare’s review of L.M. Montgomery by Jane Urquhart and The Blythes Are Quoted is now available on the Q&Q website.

The Blythes Are Quoted on CBC’s “Year in Books”

The publication of The Blythes Are Quoted has been selected as one of the “10 biggest publishing stories of 2009” on a CBC.ca news story:

Fans of the precocious, freckle-faced redhead from P.E.I. had reason to rejoice this year when an amended version of the final Anne Shirley stories was released under a new title, The Blythes Are Quoted. But the book’s additional 100 pages revealed a darker story—complete with references to adultery and suicide. Novelist Jane Urquhart ably provided a context for these bleak scenes in her comprehensive, unflinching biography of Anne’s author, Lucy Maud Montgomery. Anne’s banner year ended with a triumphant Sotheby’s auction—proof that great CanLit never goes out of fashion.

New Collector’s Guide

A Collector's Guide to L.M. Montgomery Firsts (2009)

The following notice appears on the website of the L.M. Montgomery Institute, concerning Frank and Juanita Lechowick’s new book, A Collector’s Guide to L.M. Montgomery Firsts:

In the course of research in libraries and used book stores from Charlottetown to Victoria, the authors have discovered the points of Montgomery’s original editions, from Anne of Green Gables (1908) to Anne of Ingleside (1939). A Collector’s Guide to L.M. Montgomery Firsts presents their findings systematically, with photographs and descriptions of each of the 39 first editions.

The Blythes Are Quoted Now Available

The Blythes Are Quoted (Viking Canada, 2009)I’m pleased to announce that my edition of L.M. Montgomery’s rediscovered last book, The Blythes Are Quoted, is now available from Viking Canada.

UPDATED 24 OCTOBER: For more on this book, see the following links:

“Waterloo-based academic finds L.M. Montgomery’s last ‘darker’ work” (Kitchener-Waterloo Record, 24 October 2009)

A different Anne and Gilbert” (The Globe and Mail, 23 October 2009)

“Green Gables tale darkens in final book” (CBC News, 23 October 2009)

The Blythes Are Quoted in Winnipeg Free Press

The Blythes Are Quoted is mentioned in a Winnipeg Free Press article by Morley Walker titled “Book World Slowly Grasping Value of Sequels to Classic Tales,” which is primarily about the publication of a new Winnie-the-Pooh sequel, available today:

Here in Canada, the estate of L.M. Montgomery has got into the act. On Oct. 27, Penguin will release The Blythes Are Quoted, an unabridged version of the stories Montgomery intended as the ninth volume in her Anne of Green Gables series.

Montgomery supposedly submitted the manuscript to her publisher the day she died in 1947 [sic].

She did (supposedly), although she died in 1942.

New in Paperback

The following books will be rereleased in paperback over the next nine months:

Puffin Classics reissues Anne of Avonlea and Anne of the Island

Puffin Classics will reissue Anne of Avonlea and Anne of the Island on 6 August 2009 on the U.K. (available in Canada on 24 November 2009), joining their reissue last year of Anne of Green Gables with an introduction by Lauren Child. As you can see from the covers above, the authors of the introductions to the second and third books are to be confirmed, although Amazon suggests that Budge Wilson has written the introduction to Anne of Avonlea. I’ll let you know once I hear anything more.

Announcement: The Blythes Are Quoted

I’m pleased to announce that my edition of L.M. Montgomery’s rediscovered final novel, The Blythes Are Quoted, will be published by Penguin Canada in 2009:

The Blythes Are Quoted

By L.M. Montgomery
Edited by Benjamin Lefebvre
With a foreword by Elizabeth Rollins Epperly

The never-before-published complete and unabridged last work of L.M. Montgomery

Adultery, illegitimacy, misogyny, revenge, murder, despair, bitterness, hatred, and death—usually not the first terms associated with L.M. Montgomery. But in The Blythes Are Quoted, completed shortly before her death and never before published in its entirety, Montgomery brought these topics to the forefront in what she intended to be the ninth volume in her bestselling series featuring the beloved heroine Anne. Divided into two sections, one set before and one after the Great War of 1914-1918, The Blythes Are Quoted contains fifteen short stories that include an adult Anne and her family. Between these short stories Montgomery inserted sketches featuring Anne and Gilbert Blythe discussing poems by Anne and their middle son, Walter, who dies as a soldier in the war. By blending together poetry, prose, and dialogue, Montgomery was experimenting with storytelling methods in ways she had never attempted before. The Blythes Are Quoted marks L.M. Montgomery’s final contribution to a body of work that continues to fascinate readers all over the world.