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Press release: L.M. Montgomery and the Matter of Nature

The following press release is from the L.M. Montgomery Institute:

A new generation of Montgomery scholars converges in Charlottetown

Young scholars from institutions around the globe will converge in Charlottetown June 23 – 27 at the 2010 International L.M. Montgomery Conference, “L.M. Montgomery and the Matter of Nature,” to share their research on the province’s best-known writer.

For Alicia McDonald, an Islander, UPEI alumna and graduate student at the University of Western Ontario, Montgomery’s works have hit close to home. “Having grown up on Prince Edward Island, I found myself drawn to Anne and subsequently, L.M. Montgomery because they were talking about places I knew, and represented kindred spirits who understood what it was like to grow up in a rural area where everyone knows you. As I’ve gotten older and have traveled further away from PEI, I’ve found Montgomery’s vivid descriptions of our Island and rural culture to be a stunning reminder of home that I can easily carry with me.” McDonald’s presentation, “Literary Tourism – Anne of Green Gables and Twilight as Tourist Attractions,” takes place Saturday, June 26.

Emily Woster, a PhD student at Illinois State University, will be attending the L.M.M. Conference for the third time, along with her mother, Christy Woster. “My love of all things L.M.M. began when my mother named me ‘Emily’ and my sister ‘Anne’ five years later,” says Woster of her interest in Montgomery. L.M.M. has provided her both professional and personal opportunities and lots of “scope for imagination.” The pair will be giving their presentation, entitled “A Book by Its Cover: Collecting the Artistic Interpretations of L.M. Montgomery’s Works,” together on Sunday, June 27.

Jean Mitchell, an associate professor of anthropology at UPEI and co-chair of the 2010 L.M.M. International Conference, sees these presentations as evidence of the continuing interest in Montgomery’s works. “The students’ topics are very far-ranging and eclectic, suggesting Montgomery’s multiple and meaningful influences on a new generation.”

Other student presentations include: Vappu Kannas, of the University of Helsinki, “Familiar landscape in L. M. Montgomery’s Emily series: Nature as the integrating factor in the Finnish translations”; Christiana Salah, of the University of Connecticut, “Bonds of Sea and Shore: Locating the Gothic in Montgomery’s Prehensile Landscape”; Erin Whitmore, of the University of New Brunswick, “The ‘Old-Time Kitchen’: Domesticity, Nature and Avonlea’s Transforming Rural Economy”; and Kathryne Dycus, of the University of Glasgow, “Footprints on the Landscapes of Artistic Creation: “Wanderlust” in the Emily Books”.

All are welcome to register, and day and session passes are available for those unable to attend the full conference. For information and to register, visit lmmontgomery.ca/events/conference2010, email katmacdonal2@upei.ca, or call 902-628-4346.

Press release: Epperly to Headline 2010 Montgomery Conference

The following press release announces the 9th International L.M. Montgomery conference, L.M. Montgomery and the Matter of Nature, hosted by the L.M. Montgomery Institute of the University of Prince Edward Island on 23–27 June 2010. For more information, including a list of scheduled events, see the conference website.

Former UPEI president Dr. Elizabeth Rollins (‘Betsy’) Epperly, a world-renowned scholar and author on the life and work of L.M. Montgomery, will headline the international conference, “L.M. Montgomery and the Matter of Nature” running June 23 to 27 at UPEI. Her talk, “Natural Bridge: L.M. Montgomery and the Architecture of Imaginative Landscapes” promises to be a highlight in four days of discussion and enjoyment of the enduring legacy of the province’s best-known writer.

“We are thrilled that Betsy can be such an important part of this event,” says conference co-chair Dr. Jean Mitchell of UPEI. “Betsy has so much knowledge and passion for Montgomery that people are always eager to hear what she has to say.”

Ever since Epperly helped establish the L.M. Montgomery Institute at UPEI in 1993, its international conference on Montgomery has become an essential focal point for the rapidly-growing field of Montgomery studies. 2010 marks the ninth such conference, and will draw scholars and admirers from across North America and around the world, with presenters from Europe, Australia, Africa, and Asia.

The 2008 Conference attracted some 200 registrants to Charlottetown, and organizers expect a similarly enthusiastic response this year. Besides Epperly’s keynote, highlights will include: panel discussions of responses to Montgomery in Asia and Europe; a presentation by Canada Research Chair and leading Montgomery scholar Irene Gammel; and the PEI launch of two publications of recently-rediscovered Montgomery works, The Blythes Are Quoted (edited by conference co-chair and LMMI visiting scholar Dr. Benjamin Lefebvre) and Una of the Garden. All are welcome to register, and day and session passes are available for those unable to attend the full conference. For more information and to register, visit lmmontgomery.ca/events/conference2010, e-mail cydennis@upei.ca, or call 902-628-4346.

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.

See “The Year in Books” for the full story.

Interview on CBC Radio’s Ontario Today

I will be interviewed on Ontario Today on Monday, 14 December 2009, sometime between 12:00 and 12:30, on CBC Radio One:

L.M. Montgomery’s last manuscript, The Blythes are Quoted, has just been published for the first time in its entirety. The manuscript was submitted to Montgomery’s publisher the day she died. It’s the ninth volume in the Anne series. The editor who re-discovered the typescript will be our guest on Ontario Today. And of course Ed Lawrence will join us as well.

UPDATED 15 DECEMBER 2009: The interview can be streamed from the Ontario Today website for the next thirty days.

The Blythes Are Quoted Now Available

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)

UPDATED 26 OCTOBER: See also my essay “The Dark Side of L.M. Montgomery,” published in The Mark.

The short story “Some Fools and a Saint” is now available for download from Penguin Canada’s website.

UPDATED 20 NOVEMBER: “The Dark Side of L.M. Montgomery” now includes a podcast of me reading extracts from Anne of Windy Willows.

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, although she died in 1942.