1987: Margaret Laurence dies at 60
Margaret Laurence was one of Canada's most esteemed and beloved writers. She is best known for her Manawaka novels — The Stone Angel, A Jest of God, The Fire Dwellers and The Diviners — which are considered classics of Canadian literature. Yet few know the facts of Laurence's extraordinary and sometimes difficult life.
In her journal, Laurence reflects on her deteriorating health. The loss of privacy and independence and the prospect of becoming a burden to family and friends are too much for Laurence to bear. She hopes that her decision to end her life will be met with forgiveness and understanding. The facts of Laurence's death are made public in July 1997, with the release of James King's biography, The Life of Margaret Laurence.
• She and her husband Jack Laurence lived in Africa from 1950 to 1957. Their two children, Jocelyn and David, were born in Africa.
• After separating from her husband in 1962, Laurence moved to England with her two children. Over the next decade she would publish four of her five novels in the Manawaka series.
• The five novels that make up the Manawaka series are The Stone Angel (1964), A Jest of God (1966), The Fire-Dwellers (1969), A Bird in the House (1970) and The Diviners (1974).
• Laurence won two Governor General's Awards: First for A Jest of God and the second for The Diviners.
• Laurence was made Companion of the Order of Canada in 1971.
• When Laurence was diagnosed with cancer, she wrote the memoir Dance on the Earth. In her own words, Laurence offers rare insights into her writing process, her relationships and her wide-ranging political convictions. The memoir also includes a selection of Laurence's articles, speeches, letters and photographs. Some of the more private and difficult aspects of Laurence's life are explored -- with her family's permission -- in James King's The Life of Margaret Laurence.
Also on January 5:
•1839: Gallows are erected in London, Upper Canada, for the province's first hanging, of Hiram Benjamin Lynn of Michigan on Jan. 7.
•1910: Le club athletique Canadien hockey team - forerunner of the Canadiens - plays its first game in Montreal.
•1997: Montreal solo sailor Gerry Roufs disappears in the Southern Ocean during the Vendée Globe round-the-world, single-handed, non-stop yacht race. His boat, Groupe LG2, is found on the coast of Chile in July 1997.
Program: The National Magazine
Broadcast Date: Sept. 9, 1997
Guest(s): Joan Johnson, James King
Reporter: Hana Gartner
Last updated: January 20, 2012
Page consulted on August 21, 2012
All Clips from this Topic
In 1947, Margaret Wemyss marries Jack Laurence. Between 1950 and 1957,...
Margaret Laurence's A Jest of God is published. She talks about the di...
In 1969, Laurence returns to Canada after several years in England. Sh...
In the early 1970s Laurence moves to Lakefield, Ont. She also buys a s...
Fundamentalist Christians deem The Diviners "blasphemous" and "obscene...
Laurence speaks out against the censorship of her books in high school...
Canadians mourn the loss of Margaret Laurence. Across Canada, distingu...
Margaret Laurence is born Jean Margaret Wemyss to Bob and Verna Wemyss...
On Jan. 5, 1987, after months of coping with advanced lung cancer, Mar...
Margaret Laurence was one of Canada's most esteemed and beloved writer...