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Conversations about L.M. Montgomery

Conversations about L.M. Montgomery consisted of nine virtual events that occurred between October 2020 and December 2021 that gathered people together to discuss aspects of L.M. Montgomery’s life, work, and legacy. Most of these events have been archived on YouTube.

Steering Committee
Melanie J. Fishbane, Sarah Goff, Daniela Janes, Caroline E. Jones, Yuka Kajihara, Benjamin Lefebvre, Andrea McKenzie, and Kate Sutherland

1. Round Table on The Blue Castle (17 October 2020)

Early cover art for /The Blue Castle/, by L.M. Montgomery

Our inaugural event is a round table discussion of L.M. Montgomery’s 1926 novel The Blue Castle, set in Ontario and depicting twenty-nine-year-old Valancy Stirling, who flees her oppressive home life after she receives life-altering news. This novel is frequently claimed as a favourite Montgomery novel from her worldwide readership and is the current book that is discussed on the L.M. Montgomery Readathon. The three speakers talk about the novel in terms of the environment, romance, and the figure of the “bad girl.”

Host
Andrea McKenzie

Moderator
Benjamin Lefebvre

Chat Moderator
Kate Sutherland

Speakers
Caroline E. Jones, The Blue Castle and the Bad Girl
Rachel McMillan, The Blue Castle and Romance
Tara K. Parmiter, The Blue Castle and the Environment

2. Round Table on Rilla of Ingleside (21 November 2020)

Our second event is a round table discussion of L.M. Montgomery’s 1921 novel Rilla of Ingleside, a sequel to Anne of Green Gables and a work of historical and literary significance as one of the few near-contemporaneous fictional accounts of the Canadian home front during the First World War. This is also the book that started the L.M. Montgomery Readathon in March 2020.

Host
Kate Sutherland

Moderator
Caroline E. Jones

Chat Moderator
Sarah Goff

Speakers
Maureen O. Gallagher, L.M. Montgomery’s Reframing of the Great War through Women’s Homefront Experiences
Benjamin Lefebvre, The Abridgement of Rilla of Ingleside
Andrea McKenzie, L.M. Montgomery’s Subversions of Cultural War Myths

3. Trivia Contest (12 December 2020)

The third event of Conversations about L.M. Montgomery for 2020 is a trivia contest! Answer our fifty questions on L.M. Montgomery’s fiction, poetry, and life writing and join us for our next Zoom event on Saturday, December 12, at 2:00 p.m. (EST), to find out the answers and watch those with the highest scores advance to a final round of questions!

Host
Andrea McKenzie

Moderators
Sarah Goff
Caroline E. Jones
Benjamin Lefebvre

Contestants
Allison Hudson
Kate Jones
Audrey Loiselle
Mary Ev Goyett Smith

4. An Archive of Her Own: L.M. Montgomery’s Scrapbooks and Other Records (30 January 2021)

Carolyn Strom Collins, editor most recently of Anne of Green Gables: The Original Manuscript (2019), discusses 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.

Host
Benjamin Lefebvre

Moderators
Sarah Goff
Caroline E. Jones

Speaker
Carolyn Strom Collins

5. L.M. Montgomery’s Character Pairs (13 February 2021)

For our second Conversations about L.M. Montgomery event for 2021, we invited 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? Participants were invited to share their ideas, read a key quotation, and reflect on the choices Montgomery made—and didn’t make—as she wrote her books.

Host/Moderator
Benjamin Lefebvre

Chat Moderator
Caroline E. Jones

6. L.M. Montgomery’s Bookshelf (22 May 2021)

Two images against a black background: one of Green Gables House in Cavendish, PE, and one of L.M. Montgomery, in her thirties, posing outside.

In this presentation, Yuka Kajihara, a long-time contributor to L.M. Montgomery studies, shared many of the reading materials that had an impact on Montgomery’s early life and literary imagination, with a particular focus on items that are part of the Osborne Collection of Early Children’s Books at the Toronto Public Library.

Host
Benjamin Lefebvre

Moderators
Melanie J. Fishbane and Daniela Janes

Speaker
Yuka Kajihara

7. Round Table on Emily of New Moon (25 September 2021)

After a summer hiatus of a few months, we are pleased to return for our fourth Conversations about L.M. Montgomery event for 2021: a round table on Emily of New Moon, which we recently finished reading on the L.M. Montgomery Readathon. Each of the three speakers will discuss a specific aspect of this complex novel as a way to jumpstart a conversation about its importance and appeal. As always, all Montgomery readers are welcome to join us!

Host
Andrea McKenzie

Moderator
Benjamin Lefebvre

Chat Moderator
Caroline E. Jones

Speakers
Brenton D.G. Dickieson, The Megan Follows Audiobook Version of Emily of New Moon
E. Holly Pike, Age Values in Emily of New Moon
Kate Sutherland, Lessons in Law in Emily of New Moon

8. Round Table on Ontario Heritage Sites (6 November 2021)

This round table focuses on three Ontario locations that were central to L.M. Montgomery’s life and writing and that are now heritage sites of significant historical significance. Speakers include Kathy Wasylenky of Leaskdale (where Montgomery lived between 1911 and 1926), Linda Jackson-Hutton and Jack Hutton of Bala (where Montgomery vacationed in 1922), and Kathy Gastle of Norval (where Montgomery lived between 1926 and 1935), all of whom have devoted their time and their energy to preserving these places for the benefit of their communities and of Montgomery’s worldwide readership.

Host
Benjamin Lefebvre

Moderator
Sarah Goff

Speakers
Kathy Wasylenky (Leaskdale)
Linda Jackson-Hutton and Jack Hutton (Bala)
Kathy Gastle (Norval)

9. L.M. Montgomery’s Kindred Spirits: The One in Scotland (4 December 2021)

Graphic consisting of a montage of four images (a vintage typewriter and an old book; an envelope addressed to Geo B. McMillan / 34 Castle St. / Alloa, Scotland"; a photograph of Montgomery posing outside in fancy dress and hat; and a street sign that reads "Ch Montgomery Rd"), with the following text: "Conversations about L.M. Montgomery Presents / L.M. Montgomery's Kindred Spirits: The One in Scotland" / "Mary Beth Cavert" / "4 December 2021."

In this presentation, Mary Beth Cavert shares parts of her ongoing research projects on the friends and family members to whom L.M. Montgomery dedicated her books, with a particular focus on G.B. MacMillan of Alloa, Scotland, to whom Montgomery dedicated Emily of New Moon. Their forty-year correspondence reveals a unique intellectual connection between them, in spite of the fact that they met in person only once during that time.

Host
Daniela Janes

Moderator
Caroline E. Jones

Speaker
Mary Beth Cavert (Minnesota)



Published on 6 October 2020; last updated on 24 March 2024. Please contact the site owner with additions, corrections, questions, and suggestions.