For our next Conversations about L.M. Montgomery event on Saturday, 13 February 2021 (the day before Valentine’s Day), we invite readers of L.M. Montgomery’s fiction to consider their favourite character pairs in her work: a romantic couple, a pair of friends, an adult and a young person, a pair of siblings, or two people in conflict. What is it about these relationships that are mutually supportive and enriching—or not? What is the secret to their bond, whether or not they are kindred spirits? And what motivates some characters to sacrifice personal relationships for the sake of something else, like higher education or an artistic practice?
We invite readers of Montgomery’s books to join us over Zoom for some informal discussion, beginning at 2:00 p.m. EST. Participants will be invite to share their ideas, read a key quotation, and reflect on the choices Montgomery made—and didn’t make—as she wrote her books. The event is free to all Montgomery readers, and advance registration is required. Please join us!
I’m pleased to let you all know that the first Conversations about L.M. Montgomery event for 2021 will be entitled “An Archive of Her Own: L.M. Montgomery’s Scrapbooks and Other Records” and will be held live over Zoom on Saturday, 30 January 2021, at 2:00 p.m. (EST). Carolyn Strom Collins, editor most recently of Anne of Green Gables: The Original Manuscript (2019), will discuss L.M. Montgomery’s Prince Edward Island scrapbooks, in which Montgomery preserved text and images from periodicals. As a form of personal archive, these scrapbooks offer us a fascinating window into the visual imagination that created works of fiction that continue to engage readers decades after their publication.
This event is open to everyone interested in Montgomery’s life, work, and legacy and will be followed by friendly discussion among participants.
So far 96 people have written our new L.M. Montgomery trivia contest, which is far more than we were expecting, so thank you all for playing! Just a reminder that at this afternoon’s Conversations about L.M. Montgomery event (at 2:00 p.m. EST on Zoom) we will reveal the answers to the quiz and have a bonus round for four finalists. This is our final event for 2020, but we are planning several more events for 2021. Please join us if you can! Registration is required.
Thanks to all of you who joined us for our second instalment in our Conversations about L.M. Montgomery initiative, a round table discussion of Rilla of Ingleside, on Zoom earlier this month. That conversation has now been archived on YouTube. I’m pleased to announce our third and final instalment for 2020, which is a trivia contest that opens today, coinciding with the anniversary of L.M. Montgomery’s birth. Participants are invited to complete the quiz on their own time and to join us over Zoom on Saturday, December 12, at 2:00 p.m. (EST) to find out the answers and to watch a bonus round for attendees with the highest scores. Break a leg!
Don’t forget that our Rilla of Ingleside round table, the second instalment in our Conversations about L.M. Montgomery initiative, is happening this afternoon (2 p.m. EST) on Zoom! Three speakers will be discussing key aspects of this book, followed by open discussion among participants. Please register in advance and join us if you can! A recording will be posted on YouTube later on.
Speakers Maureen O. Gallagher (Australian National University), L.M. Montgomery’s Reframing of the Great War through Women’s Homefront Experiences Sarah Glassford (University of Windsor), L.M. Montgomery’s Representations of Women’s War Work Andrea McKenzie (York University), L.M. Montgomery’s Subversions of Cultural War Myths
On behalf of the steering committee for Conversations about L.M. Montgomery, I’m happy to let you all know that, as a follow-up to our round table on The Blue Castle last month (which attracted about 70 participants and which you can now watch on YouTube), our next instalment, held on Zoom and scheduled for Saturday, November 21 at 2:00 p.m. EST, will be a round table on Rilla of Ingleside. Set in rural Prince Edward Island during the First World War and published in 1921, this book is now widely recognized as having significant literary and historical value, and it was the first book that we discussed on the L.M. Montgomery Readathon. Speakers will include Sarah Glassford (University of Windsor), Maureen O. Gallagher (Australian National University), and Andrea McKenzie (York University), and it promises to be a lively discussion.
Registration is now open—look forward to seeing you there!
Just a reminder that the first event in the new Conversations about L.M. Montgomery initiative, a round table discussion of frequent Montgomery fan favourite The Blue Castle, will take place over Zoom on Saturday, 17 October 2020, at 2:00 p.m. (EST). I wanted to take this opportunity to introduce the three speakers, who will be talking about the novel in terms of the environment, romance, and the figure of the “bad girl.”
Caroline E. Jones has been reading L.M. Montgomery’s work since she was a preteen, and her love for the author sent her after a PhD in English studies, with a focus on children’s literature. She has presented at six of the L.M. Montgomery Institute’s biennial conferences, and her Montgomery research focuses on issues of motherhood and girlhood. Caroline has published four book chapters on Montgomery’s work, most recently “Idylls of Play: L.M. Montgomery’s Child-Worlds,” in Children’s Play in Literature: Investigating the Strengths and the Subversions of the Playing Child (2019).
Rachel McMillan is the author of the Herringford and Watts mysteries, the Van Buren and DeLuca mysteries, and the Three Quarter Time series of contemporary Viennese romances. Her newest releases include Dream, Plan and Go: A Travel Guide to Inspire Independent Adventure, A Very Merry Holiday Movie Guide, and The London Restoration. Rachel is a long-time enthusiast of The Blue Castle, has lectured on L.M. Montgomery’s ties to Muskoka, and curated an international readalong of The Blue Castle that dug deep into the historical and social tenets of the book.
Tara K. Parmiter received her B.A. in English from Cornell University and her Ph.D. from New York University, where she teaches in the expository writing program and is the assistant director of the writing centre. Her article on village improvement societies in Anne of Avonlea appeared in CREArTA, and her article on nature study in the Anne books appeared in L.M. Montgomery and the Matter of Nature(s) (2018). She has also published on summer vacationing in Kate Chopin’s The Awakening, journey narratives in the Muppet movies, and the green gothic landscapes of Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight saga.
Registration is now open for this event. If you’re unable to join us for the event, a recording will be available after the fact on YouTube. First-time readers of the book are warned that the discussion will contain plot spoilers. Be sure to subscribe to this blog via email to get all the latest updates about this exciting new initiative.
When Andrea McKenzie told me last March about her idea to start a Rilla of Ingleside Readathon, she mentioned that she wanted to find new ways to connect with fellow L.M. Montgomery readers using the tools of the digital age (in this case, Facebook). After all, it’s been well documented that Montgomery’s novels have the power to bring people together, and Andrea thought it would be worthwhile for a group of people to read (or reread) Rilla of Ingleside together, partly as a distraction from the pandemic, partly because there’s such rich cultural and literary context to explore in that novel, and partly because it depicts a community of people working together to get through a different kind of global crisis (in this case, four years of war). The level of response from readers all over the world surpassed our expectations completely, and the group—now called L.M. Montgomery Readathon—recently started discussing a third Montgomery book, The Blue Castle.
In light of the level of enthusiasm that the Readathon has received, Andrea and I soon started talking about additional ways we would connect virtually with fellow Montgomery readers around the world. To that end, I am pleased to announce Conversations about L.M. Montgomery, a series of virtual conversations and activities that will be hosted over Zoom and archived on a YouTube page. For this initiative, we reached out to Melanie J. Fishbane, Sarah Goff, Daniela Janes, Caroline E. Jones, Yuka Kajihara, and Kate Sutherland, and together the eight of us form the steering committee.
In figuring out a format for a series of virtual events, we were motivated by the wide range of workshops, conferences, events, meetings, and conversations that have happened on Zoom, but we were also mindful of the well-documented phenomenon known as “Zoom fatigue.” And so, instead of an all-day or a multi-day virtual conference, we’ve opted for a series of short events (round tables, formal papers, workshops, informal conversations, and readings), scattered throughout the year, for which any Montgomery reader who downloads the Zoom app can join us.
Our first event will be a round table discussion of The Blue Castle and will take place on Saturday, 17 October 2020, at 2:00 p.m. (EST). It will feature three engaging and knowledgeable speakers: Tara K. Parmiter (New York University) will speak on The Blue Castle and the environment, Rachel McMillan (Toronto) will speak on The Blue Castle and romance, and Caroline E. Jones (Austin) will speak on The Blue Castle and the figure of the bad girl.
Interested participants should register in advance. First-time readers of the book are warned that the discussion will contain plot spoilers. Questions? Suggestions? Comment on this post below or get in touch through the contact form. Please subscribe to this blog via email to get all the latest updates.