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Margaret Laurence and The Fire Dweller

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.

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In 1969 Laurence returns to Canada after several years in England. She is now a famous Canadian novelist. That year, she writes The Fire Dwellers, the third and most complex of the Manawaka novels. In this novel, Laurence explores the "simultaneity" of modern life through the fragmented consciousness of Stacey MacAindra. According to Laurence biographer James King, the novel is especially autobiographical. But critics are divided. Many feel it is overly pessimistic. Laurence disagrees.
A Jest of God was made into the movie Rachel, Rachel, which was directed by Paul Newman and starred Joanne Woodward. Rachel, Rachel was nominated for four Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, Best Actress (Joanne Woodward) and Best (Adapted) Screenplay. Laurence was pleased with the adaptation of her book.
Medium: Radio
Program: Speaking of Books
Broadcast Date: Aug. 24, 1969
Guest(s): Margaret Laurence
Host: Robin Ford
Duration: 28:21

Last updated: January 16, 2012

Page consulted on April 23, 2014

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