A Manitoba-born author is one of 38 new significant people, places and events to receive national historical significance status this year.

Margaret Laurence, who was born in Neepawa, Man., was designated a person of national historical significance earlier this month by Parks Canada, nearly 30 years after her death. 

The designation is given to people, places and events that "reflect the rich and varied history of our nation," according to Parks Canada news release.

Laurence is considered one of the country's most beloved writers, having penned a number of short stories, novels and other forms of literature. 

Brian Curtis is a former Neepawa resident who took interest in Laurence's work and was one of the founding members who worked to open the Margaret Laurence Home in Neepawa.

Margaret Laurence House

Photo of a photograph of Margaret Laurence which is on display at the Margaret Laurence House in Neepawa Thursday, November 6, 2008. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods)

The museum is housed in the same home Laurence grew up in as a young girl.

'She was a remarkable woman'

"She was a remarkable woman from my point of view," he said from his home in Winnipeg on Thursday. "I believe that she was first rate and first class in her time of writing."

Curtis visited Laurence at her Ontario cottage in 1972.

"She was fascinating," he said. He recalls a large poster of Louis Riel on the wall. 

"She was a huge huge writer for Canada," said Curtis. "She talked about things that are now being championed."

In particular, women's rights and the rights of indigenous people, he said. 

"She was a great believer in doing what you believed to be true for yourself," he said. 

Although Laurence was born in and grew up in Neepawa, she moved to England with her husband in 1949 and later to the British Somaliland, Gold Coast (Ghana) and then to Vancouver. The family moved back to England in 1962 and she settled at her cottage in Ontario in 1973. 

'The Stone Angel', penned in 1964, is considered her most famous work. A Parks Canada backgrounder on Laurence called it a landmark event for Canadian literature that pointed the way for her subsequent works. 

Asked if he thought Laurence would be happy with the movement on women's rights and her other causes to date, Curtis said he thinks she would be happy. 

"Maybe a little ticked off that it has taken so long, not moving fast enough," Curtis added. "But she was a strong minded woman." 

Laurence was also named a Companion of the Order of Canada and has been the recipient of numerous other awards and accolades over the years.