Canadian History for Kids!
Sketches of Canada for January 5th!

Canadian History for Kids: Margaret Laurence

January 5, 1987 – Canadian author Margaret Laurence dies at age 60.

This Canadian History for Kids exclusive, looks at Margaret Laurence, one of the major figures in Canadian literature.

Jean Margaret Laurence, born July 18, 1926, was a Canadian novelist and short story writer.

In 1944, Laurence attended Winnipeg’s United College (now University of Winnipeg), where she wrote for the student newspaper and became involved with the “Old Left” socialist reform group. Shortly after graduating she was hired as a reporter for The Winnipeg Citizen, where she wrote book reviews, covered labour issues, and hosted a daily radio column.

While living in Africa with her husband, Jack, from 1950 to 1957, she wrote novels and short stories which were influenced by her experience as a minority in Africa, including The Tomorrow-tamer, a collection of short stories and her novel, This Side Jordan.

From 1957 to 1962, she lived in Vancouver and then in 1962 after her separation and divorce from her husband, Jack, she moved to England for ten years with her two children, Jocelyn and David. She moved back to Canada in 1974 and lived in Lakefield, Ontario until her death in 1987.

In 1964 she published her most famous novel, The Stone Angel, which was later made into a movie. The Stone Angel is set in a fictional Manitoba small town called Manawaka.

Her published works after The Stone Angel dealt with the changing role of women’s lives in the 1970s. She portrayed the female perspective on contemporary life, depicting the choices and consequences of those choices — women must make to find meaning and purpose in life.

Canadian History for Kids has learned she received many honours including the Governor-General’s Award for A Jest Of God (1967), Companion of the Order of Canada (1972) and 14 honorary degrees from Canadian universities. She was a mentor and inspiration to many younger writers.

The last decade of her life she promoted causes she passionately supported including the equality of women and environmental protection.

Margaret Laurence died on January 5, 1987 and her ashes were interred in Riverside Cemetery, Neepawa, on June 23, the day before the official opening of the Margaret Laurence Home, her family home.

And that’s this week’s Canadian History for Kids!

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