Laurence, Margaret

Jean Margaret (née Wemyss) Laurence (1926–87) was among the first Canadian novelists to treat the subject of motherhood. Her Manawaka fiction—four novels and a collection of short stories published between 1964 and 1974—is set in the imagined prairie town of Manawaka, Manitoba, and presents memorable female protagonists, strong individualists who struggle against prevailing norms for women. With gentle humor and deep compassion, Laurence writes of women who are defined, in large part, by societal expectations for mothers.

Laurence was born and raised in the small town of Neepawa, Manitoba. Both her parents died before she was 9 years old, and she was raised by an aunt who became her stepmother. She earned a B.A. in English from Winnipeg's United College. From 1950 to 1957, Laurence and ...

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