CBC Digital Archives CBC butterfly logo

CBC Archives has a new look: Please go to cbc.ca/archives to access the new site.

The page you are looking at will not be updated.

Margaret Laurence’s difficult childhood

The Story

Margaret Laurence is born Jean Margaret Wemyss to Robert and Verna Wemyss in the town of Neepawa, Man. on July 18, 1926. Laurence has an especially difficult childhood. Shortly after her fourth birthday, her mother dies. Only two years later she loses her father. Laurence's profound grief is intensified by life with her strict grandfather. Sad and alone, she finds refuge in writing. Her imagination proves as limitless as the prairie sky.

Medium: Television
Program: The National Magazine
Broadcast Date: Sept. 10, 1997
Guests: Robert Fulford, Mona Meredith
Host: Hana Gartner
Duration: 1:18

Did You know?

• Neepawa comes from the Cree word nepa, which means "rest" or "sleep." The first residents of Neepawa were the Assiniboine and the Cree who lived there in seasonal cycles. Throughout the 1800s, English, Irish and Scots settled in the area. In the early 20th century, Eastern European immigrants arrived from Ontario and other parts of Canada. Neepawa's cultural history inspired Laurence's fictional town of Manawaka.



Margaret Laurence: Canada's Divine Writer more