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!

Rilla of Ingleside (Penguin Canada, 2011)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

Visit the book’s official website and the book’s official Facebook page.

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.