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Margaret Laurence’s books banned

The Story

The late 1970s and early 1980s are an exceptionally difficult time for Laurence. In addition to depression and an increasing dependence on alcohol, she is subjected to public attacks on her books. Fundamentalist Christians deem The Diviners "blasphemous" and "obscene" and pressure school boards to ban her novels. Several schools comply. Although Laurence is privately anguished, she stays silent. But after another round of censorship in the early 1980s Laurence speaks out.

Medium: Television
Program: The National
Broadcast Date: Jan. 25, 1985
Guest: Margaret Laurence
Reporter: Marguerite McDonald
Duration: 2:39

Did You know?

• Canadian high schools also banned Alice Munro's Lives of Girls and Women, John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men and J.D Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye.

• These attempts at censorship inspired the creation of the Book and Periodical Development Council (now the Book and Periodical Council). In 1978, the Council created a Freedom of Expression committee. Freedom to Read Week takes place annually during the last week of February.


Margaret Laurence: Canada's Divine Writer more