Margaret Atwood

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

margaret-atwoodMargaret Eleanor Atwood, (born November 18, 1939) is a Canadian poet, novelist, literary critic, essayist, and environmental activist. She is among the most-honoured authors of fiction in recent history. She is a winner of the Arthur C. Clarke Award and Prince of Asturias Award for Literature, has been shortlisted for the Booker Prize five times, winning once, and has been a finalist for the Governor General’s Award several times, winning twice. She is also a founder of the Writers’ Trust of Canada, a non-profit literary organization that seeks to encourage Canada’s writing community.   While she is best known for her work as a novelist, she has also published fifteen books of poetry. Many of her poems have been inspired by myths and fairy tales, which have been interests of hers from an early age. Atwood has published short stories in Tamarack Review, Alphabet, Harper’s, CBC Anthology, Ms., Saturday Night, and many other magazines. She has also published four collections of stories and three collections of unclassifiable short prose works

Early life  

Born in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, Atwood is the second of three children of Margaret Dorothy (née Killam), a former dietitian and nutritionist, and Carl Edmund Atwood, an entomologist.[5] Due to her father’s ongoing research in forest entomology, Atwood spent much of her childhood in the backwoods of Northern Quebec and traveling back and forth between Ottawa, Sault Ste. Marie, and Toronto. She did not attend school full-time until she was in grade 8. She became a voracious reader of literature, Dell pocketbook mysteries, Grimm’s Fairy Tales, Canadian animal stories, and comic books. She attended Leaside High School in Leaside, Toronto, and graduated in 1957.   Atwood began writing at the age of six and realized she wanted to write professionally when she was 16. In 1957, she began studying at Victoria College in the University of Toronto, where she published poems and articles in Acta Victoriana, the college literary journal.[6] Her professors included Jay Macpherson and Northrop Frye. She graduated in 1961 with a Bachelor of Arts in English (honours) and a minor in philosophy and French.   In late 1961, after winning the E.J. Pratt Medal for her privately printed book of poems, Double Persephone, she began graduate studies at Harvard’s Radcliffe College with a Woodrow Wilson fellowship.

She obtained a master’s degree (MA) from Radcliffe in 1962 and pursued further graduate studies at Harvard University for two years but did not finish her dissertation, “The English Metaphysical Romance.”

She has taught at the University of British Columbia (1965), Sir George Williams University in Montreal (1967–68), the University of Alberta (1969–70), York University in Toronto (1971–72), the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa (1985), where she was visiting M.F.A. Chair, and New York University, where she was Berg Professor of English.   In June 2011, Atwood was conferred with an honorary degree of Doctor of Literature (honoris causa) from the National University of Ireland, Galway. On November 16, 2012, Atwood received an honorary degree from the Royal Military College of Canada. She also holds honorary degrees from several other Canadian universities, as well as Oxford University, Cambridge University, and the Sorbonne.

Personal life  

In 1968, Atwood married Jim Polk; they were divorced in 1973.  She formed a relationship with fellow novelist Graeme Gibson soon after and moved to a farm near Alliston, Ontario, north of Toronto, where their daughter Eleanor Jess Atwood Gibson was born in 1976.[8] The family returned to Toronto in 1980.

Critical reception   The Economist called her a “scintillating wordsmith” and an “expert literary critic”, but commented that her logic does not match her prose in Payback: Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth,[9] a book which commences with the conception of debt and its kinship with justice. Atwood claims that this concept is ingrained in the human psyche, that it is apparent in early historical peoples, who associated their understanding of debt with that of justice, ideas that are typically exemplified by a female deity. Atwood holds that, with the rise of Ancient Greece, and especially the installation of the court system detailed in Aeschylus’ Oresteia, this deity has been replaced by a more thorough conception of debt.   In 1984, she was the subject of a documentary film by Michael Rubbo, Margaret Atwood: Once in August. In 2003, Shaftesbury Films produced an anthology series, The Atwood Stories, which dramatized six of Atwood’s short stories.

Atwood and science fiction  

The Handmaid’s Tale received the first Arthur C. Clarke Award in 1987. The award is given for the best science fiction novel that was first published in the United Kingdom during the previous year. It was also nominated for the 1986 Nebula Award, and the 1987 Prometheus Award, both science fiction awards.   Atwood has resisted the suggestion that The Handmaid’s Tale and Oryx and Crake are science fiction, suggesting to The Guardian that they are speculative fiction instead: “Science fiction has monsters and spaceships; speculative fiction could really happen.” She told the Book of the Month Club: “Oryx and Crake is a speculative fiction, not a science fiction proper. It contains no intergalactic space travel, no teleportation, no Martians.” On BBC Breakfast she explained that science fiction, as opposed to what she herself wrote, was “talking squids in outer space.” The latter phrase particularly rankled advocates of science fiction and frequently recurs when her writing is discussed.   Atwood has since said that she does at times write social science fiction and that Handmaid’s Tale and Oryx and Crake can be designated as such. She clarified her meaning on the difference between speculative and science fiction, admitting that others use the terms interchangeably: “For me, the science fiction label belongs on books with things in them that we can’t yet do…. speculative fiction means a work that employs the means already to hand and that takes place on Planet Earth.” She said that science fiction narratives give a writer the ability to explore themes in ways that realistic fiction cannot.

Atwood and feminism  

Atwood, who was surrounded by the intellectual dialogue of the female faculty members at Victoria College at University of Toronto, often portrays female characters dominated by patriarchy in her novels. Still, Atwood denies that The Edible Woman, for example, published in 1969 and coinciding with the early second wave of the feminist movement, is feminist and claims that she wrote it four years before the movement. Atwood believes that the feminist label can only be applied to writers who consciously work within the framework of the feminist movement.

Contribution to the theorizing of Canadian identity  

Atwood’s contributions to the theorizing of Canadian identity have garnered attention both in Canada and internationally. Her principal work of literary criticism, Survival: A Thematic Guide to Canadian Literature, is considered outdated in Canada but remains the standard introduction to Canadian literature in Canadian Studies programs internationally. In Survival, Atwood postulates that Canadian literature, and by extension Canadian identity, is characterized by the symbol of survival.  This symbol is expressed in the omnipresent use of “victim positions” in Canadian literature. These positions represent a scale of self-consciousness and self-actualization for the victim in the “victor/victim” relationship. The “victor” in these scenarios may be other humans, nature, the wilderness or other external and internal factors which oppress the victim.  Atwood’s Survival bears the influence of Northrop Frye’s theory of garrison mentality; Atwood instrumentalizes Frye’s concept to a critical tool. More recently, Atwood has continued her exploration of the implications of Canadian literary themes for Canadian identity in lectures such as Strange Things: The Malevolent North in Canadian Literature (1995).   Atwood’s contribution to the theorizing of Canada is not limited to her non-fiction works. Several of her works, including The Journals of Susanna Moodie, Alias Grace, The Blind Assassin and Surfacing, are examples of what postmodern literary theorist Linda Hutcheon calls “Historiographic Metafiction”. In such works, Atwood explicitly explores the relation of history and narrative and the processes of creating history.   Ultimately, according to her theories in works such as Survival and her exploration of similar themes in her fiction, Atwood considers Canadian literature as the expression of Canadian identity. According to this literature, Canadian identity has been defined by a fear of nature, by settler history and by unquestioned adherence to the community.

Atwood and animals  

Margaret Atwood has repeatedly made observations about our relationships to animals in her works. In Surfacing, one character remarks about eating animals: “The animals die that we may live, they are substitute people…And we eat them, out of cans or otherwise; we are eaters of death, dead Christ-flesh resurrecting inside us, granting us life.” Some characters in her books link sexual oppression to meat-eating and consequently give up meat-eating. In The Edible Woman, Atwood’s character Marian identifies with hunted animals and cries after hearing her fiancé’s experience of hunting and eviscerating a rabbit. Marian stops eating meat but then later returns to it.   In Cat’s Eye, the narrator recognizes the similarity between a turkey and a baby. She looks at “the turkey, which resembles a trussed, headless baby. It has thrown off its disguise as a meal and has revealed itself to me for what it is, a large dead bird.” In Atwood’s Surfacing, a dead heron represents purposeless killing and prompts thoughts about other senseless deaths.

Chamber opera  

In March 2008 Atwood announced that she had accepted her first chamber opera commission. Pauline will be on the subject of Pauline Johnson, a writer and Canadian artist long a subject of fascination to Atwood. It will star Judith Forst, with music by Tobin Stokes, and be produced by City Opera of Vancouver.[23] Pauline will be set in Vancouver, British Columbia, in March 1913, in the last week of Johnson’s life. “Pauline” has been announced for premiere in May 2014.

Political involvement  

Although Atwood’s politics are commonly described as being left-wing, she has indicated in interviews that she considers herself a Red Tory in the historical sense of the term.[25] Atwood and her partner Graeme Gibson are members of the Green Party of Canada (GPC) and strong supporters of GPC leader Elizabeth May. Atwood has strong views on environmental issues, and she and her partner are the joint honorary presidents of the Rare Bird Club within BirdLife International. She has been chair of the Writers’ Union of Canada and president of PEN Canada, and is currently a vice president of PEN International. In the 2008 federal election she attended a rally for the Bloc Québécois, a Quebec separatist party, because of her support for their position on the arts, and stated that she would vote for the party if she lived in Quebec.[26] In a Globe and Mail editorial, she urged Canadians to vote for any other party to stop a Conservative majority.   During the debate in 1987 over a free trade agreement between Canada and the United States, Atwood spoke out against the deal, and wrote an essay opposing the agreement.   Atwood celebrated her 70th birthday at a gala dinner at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, marking the final stop of her international tour to promote The Year of the Flood. She stated that she had chosen to attend the event because the city has been home to one of Canada’s most ambitious environmental reclamation programs: “When people ask if there’s hope (for the environment), I say, if Sudbury can do it, so can you. Having been a symbol of desolation, it’s become a symbol of hope.”   Atwood’s reputed left wing attitudes may have been changing in recent times. Despite calls for a boycott by Gazan students, Atwood visited Israel and accepted the $1,000,000 Dan David Prize along with Indian author Amitav Ghosh at Tel Aviv University in May 2010. Atwood commented that “we don’t do cultural boycotts.” She is a supporter of convicted felon Conrad Black in his attempts to remain a member of the Order of Canada.   In the Wake of the Flood, a documentary film by Canadian director Ron Mann released in October 2010, followed Atwood on the unusual book tour for her novel The Year of the Flood. During this innovative book tour, Atwood created a theatrical version of her novel, with performers borrowed from the local areas she was visiting. The documentary is described as “a fly-on-the-wall film vérité.”   Since February 2013, Atwood made it clear via Twitter that she strongly opposed the University of Toronto putting in an artificial turf field and hinted that she might write the university out of her will if it proceeded with the plan. This was not the first time she had openly challenged the university.

Works  

Novels  The Edible Woman (1969)  Surfacing (1972)  Lady Oracle (1976)  Life Before Man (1979, finalist for the Governor General’s Award)  Bodily Harm (1981)  The Handmaid’s Tale (1985, winner of the 1987 Arthur C. Clarke Award and 1985 Governor General’s Award, finalist for the 1986 Booker Prize)  Cat’s Eye (1988, finalist for the 1988 Governor General’s Award and the 1989 Booker Prize)  The Robber Bride (1993, finalist for the 1994 Governor General’s Award and shortlisted for the James Tiptree, Jr. Award)  Alias Grace (1996, winner of the 1996 Giller Prize, finalist for the 1996 Booker Prize and the 1996 Governor General’s Award, shortlisted for the 1997 Orange Prize for Fiction)  The Blind Assassin (2000, winner of the 2000 Booker Prize and finalist for the 2000 Governor General’s Award, shortlisted for the 2001 Orange Prize for Fiction.)  Oryx and Crake (2003, finalist for the 2003 Booker Prize and the 2003 Governor General’s Award and shortlisted for the 2004 Orange Prize for Fiction.)  The Penelopiad (2005, nominated for the 2006 Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Adult Literature and longlisted for the 2007 IMPAC Award)  The Year of the Flood (2009, Oryx and Crake companion, longlisted for the 2011 IMPAC Award)  MaddAddam (2013) (third novel in Oryx and Crake trilogy)

Short fiction collections  

Dancing Girls (1977, winner of the St. Lawrence Award for Fiction and the award of The Periodical Distributors of Canada for Short Fiction)  Murder in the Dark (1983)  Bluebeard’s Egg (1983)  Wilderness Tips (1991, finalist for the Governor General’s Award)  Good Bones (1992)  Good Bones and Simple Murders (1994)  The Labrador Fiasco (1996)  The Tent (2006)  Moral Disorder (2006)  

Poetry collections  

Double Persephone (1961)  The Circle Game (1964, winner of the 1966 Governor General’s Award)  Expeditions (1965)  Speeches for Doctor Frankenstein (1966)  The Animals in That Country (1968)  The Journals of Susanna Moodie (1970)  Procedures for Underground (1970)  Power Politics (1971)  You Are Happy (1974)  Selected Poems (1976)  Two-Headed Poems (1978)  True Stories (1981)  Love Songs of a Terminator (1983)  Snake Poems (1983)[35]  Interlunar (1984)  Selected Poems 1966–1984 (Canada)  Selected Poems II: 1976–1986 (US)  Morning in the Burned House, McClelland & Stewart (1995)  Eating Fire: Selected Poems, 1965–1995 (UK,1998) “You Begin.” (1978) – as recited by Margaret Atwood; included in all three most recent editions of her “Selected Poems” as listed above (US, CA, UK)

The Door (2007)

E-books  

I’m Starved For You (2012)  Choke Collar: Positron, Episode Two (2012)  Erase Me: Positron, Episode Three (2013)  The Heart Goes Last, Episode Four (2013)   Anthologies edited  The New Oxford Book of Canadian Verse (1982)  The Canlit Foodbook (1987)  The Oxford Book of Canadian Short Stories in English (1988)  The Best American Short Stories 1989 (1989) (with Shannon Ravenel)  The New Oxford Book of Canadian Short Stories in English (1995)   Children’s books  Up in the Tree (1978)  Anna’s Pet (1980) (with Joyce C. Barkhouse)  For the Birds (1990) (with Shelly Tanaka)  Princess Prunella and the Purple Peanut (1995)  Rude Ramsay and the Roaring Radishes (2003)  Bashful Bob and Doleful Dorinda (2006)  Wandering Wenda and Widow Wallop’s Wunderground Washery (2011)[36]   Non-fiction  Survival: A Thematic Guide to Canadian Literature (1972)  Days of the Rebels 1815–1840 (1977)  Second Words: Selected Critical Prose (1982)  Through the One-Way Mirror (1986)  Strange Things: The Malevolent North in Canadian Literature (1995)  Negotiating with the Dead: A Writer on Writing (2002)  Moving Targets: Writing with Intent, 1982–2004 (2004)  Writing with Intent: Essays, Reviews, Personal Prose–1983-2005 (2005)  Payback: Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth (2008)  In Other Worlds: SF and the Human Imagination (2011)   Drawings  Kanadian Kultchur Komix featuring “Survivalwoman” in This Magazine under the pseudonym, Bart Gerrard 1975–1980  Others appear on her website.   Television scripts  The Servant Girl (1974)  Snowbird (1981)  Heaven on Earth (1987)   Libretto  The Trumpets of Summer (1964) (with composer John Beckwith)  Frankenstein Monster Song (2004, with rock band One Ring Zero)[37]   Audio recordings  The Poetry and Voice of Margaret Atwood (1977)  Margaret Atwood Reads “Unearthing Suite” (1985)  Margaret Atwood Reading From Her Poems (2005)

Awards and honours  

Atwood has won more than 55 awards in Canada and internationally, including:

Awards

Governor General’s Award, (1966, 1985)  Companion of the Order of Canada, 1981  Guggenheim fellowship, 1981  Los Angeles Times Fiction Award, 1986  Arthur C. Clarke Award for best Science Fiction, 1987  Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 1988 Canadian Booksellers Association Author of the Year, 1989  Trillium Book Award, 1991, 1993, 1995  Government of France’s Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, 1994  Helmerich Award, 1999, the Peggy V. Helmerich Distinguished Author Award is presented annually by the Tulsa Library Trust.  Booker Prize, 2000  Prince of Asturias Awards for Literature, 2008  Nelly Sachs Prize, Germany, 2010  Dan David Prize, Israel, 2010  Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, Canada, 2012  Los Angeles Times Book Prize “Innovator’s Award”, 2012

Honorary degrees

Trent University, 1973  Queen’s University, 1974  Concordia University, 1980  Smith College, 1982  University of Toronto, 1983  University of Waterloo, 1985  University of Guelph, 1985  Mount Holyoke College, 1985  Victoria College, 1987  Université de Montréal, 1991  University of Leeds, 1994  McMaster University, 1996  Laurentian University, 2001  Harvard University, 2004  Ontario College of Art & Design, 2009  Bard College, 2010  National University of Ireland, Galway, 2011  Ryerson University, 2012  Royal Military College of Canada, 2012

Courtesy: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margaret_Atwood

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Yann Martel

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Yann_MartelYann Martel (born June 25, 1963) is a Canadian author best known for the Man Booker Prize-winning novel Life of Pi.[1] He has won a number of literary prizes, including the 2001 Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction and the 2001-2003 Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature. He is also the first Canadian to represent the Washington Arts Commission.   Although his first language is French, Yann Martel writes in English: “English is the language in which I best express the subtlety of life. But I must say that French is the language closest to my heart. And for this same reason, English gives me a sufficient distance to write.

Early life  

Martel, the son of Nicole Perron and Emile Martel, was born in Salamanca, Spain. His parents were French-speaking Quebecers.[2] His father was posted as a diplomat for the Canadian government at the time of his birth. He was raised in Costa Rica, France, Mexico, and Canada. As an adolescent he attended high school at Trinity College School, a boarding school in Port Hope, Ontario.   As an adult, Martel has spent time in Iran, Turkey and India. After studying philosophy at Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario, Martel spent 13 months in India visiting mosques, churches, temples and zoos, and spent two years reading religious texts and castaway stories. He now lives in Saskatoon, Canada.[3] His first published fictional work, Seven Stories, appeared in 1993

Career

In 2001, he published the novel Life of Pi, his fourth book, which was awarded the Man Booker Prize in 2002. Life of Pi was later chosen for the 2003 edition of CBC Radio’s Canada Reads competition, where it was championed by author Nancy Lee. In addition, its French translation, Histoire de Pi, was included in the French version of the competition, Le combat des livres, in 2004, championed by singer Louise Forestier. Martel was inspired to write a story about sharing a lifeboat with a large cat after reading a review of the novella Max and the Cats by Brazilian author Moacyr Scliar. Martel received some criticism for failing to consult with Scliar and by Scliar himself for the way he initially responded to the criticism.   Martel spent a year in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan from September 2003 as the public library’s writer-in-residence. He collaborated with Omar Daniel, composer-in-residence at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, on a piece for piano, string quartet and bass. The composition, You Are Where You Are, is based on text written by Martel, which includes parts of cellphone conversations taken from moments in an ordinary day.   In November 2005, the University of Saskatchewan announced that Martel would be scholar-in-residence.   His novel Beatrice and Virgil (2010) deals with the Holocaust: its main characters are two stuffed animals (a monkey and a donkey), along with several other animals depicted in a taxidermy shop. Martel describes them as simply two approaches to the same subject.   From 2007 to 2011, Martel worked on a project entitled What is Stephen Harper Reading? Every two weeks, he sent the Prime Minister of Canada one book that portrays “stillness,” with an accompanying explanatory note. He posted his letters, book selections, and responses received to a website devoted to the project. A book-length account of the project was published in the fall of 2009. Martel ended the project in February 2011, after sending Harper a total of 100 books.

Published works  

Seven Stories (1993)  The Facts Behind the Helsinki Roccamatios (1993)  Self (1996)  Life of Pi (2001)  We Ate the Children Last (2004)  Beatrice and Virgil (2010)  101 Letters to a Prime Minister: The Complete Letters to Stephen Harper (2012)

Awards

Winner of the 2002 Man Booker Prize for Fiction  Winner of the 2001 Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction  Shortlisted for the 2001 Governor General’s Award for Fiction  Winner of the 2001-2003 Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature  Shortlisted for Chapters/Books in Canada First Novel Award  First Canadian to represent the Washington Arts Commission  His short story “The Facts behind the Helsinki Roccamatios” was the winner of the 1991 Journey Prize

Influences

Martel has said in a number of interviews that Dante’s Divine Comedy is the single most impressive book he has ever read. In talking about his most memorable childhood book, he recalls Le Petit Chose by Alphonse Daudet. He said that he read it when he was ten years old, and it was the first time he found a book so heartbreaking that it moved him to tears.[

Courtesy http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yann_Martel

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Jean Margaret Laurence

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Margaret_LaurenceJean Margaret Laurence,  (18 July 1926 – 5 January 1987) was a Canadian novelist and short story writer, one of the major figures in Canadian literature. She was also a founder of the Writers’ Trust of Canada, a non-profit literary organization that seeks to encourage Canada’s writing community.

Early years

Born in Neepawa, Manitoba, Laurence was the daughter of solicitor Robert Wemyss and Verna Jean Simpson. Following the death of her mother when Laurence was four, a maternal aunt, Margaret Simpson, came to take care of the family. A year later, Simpson married Robert,Sr., and in 1933 they had a son, Robert. In 1935, Robert Wemyss Sr. died of pneumonia.

Education

In 1944, Laurence attended Winnipeg’s United College (now the University of Winnipeg) on scholarship, pursuing an honours English degree. She wrote for the student newspaper and became involved with the “Old Left” socialist reform group. She graduated in 1947. Soon afterwards, she was hired as a reporter for The Winnipeg Citizen, which was “published…between 1948 and 1949 in response to the typographical union’s strike against the other Winnipeg newspapers.” There she wrote book reviews, covered labour issues, and hosted a daily radio column

Personal life

Following her graduation from United College, she married Jack Fergus Laurence, an engineer. His job took them to England (1949), the then-British protectorate of British Somaliland (1950–1952), as well as the British colony of the Gold Coast (1952–1957). Laurence developed an admiration for Africa and of its various populations, which found expression in her writing.   In 1952, Laurence gave birth to daughter Jocelyn during a leave in England. Son David was born in 1955 in the Gold Coast. The family left the Gold Coast just before it gained independence as Ghana in 1957, moving to Vancouver, British Columbia, where they stayed for five years.   In 1962, she separated from her husband and moved to London, England for a year. She then moved to Elm Cottage (Penn, Buckinghamshire) where she lived for more than ten years, although she visited Canada often. Her divorce became final in 1969. That year, she became writer in residence at the University of Toronto. A few years later, she moved to Lakefield, Ontario. She also bought a cabin on the Otonabee River near Peterborough, where she wrote The Diviners (1974) during the summers of 1971 to 1973. Laurence served as Chancellor of Trent University in Peterborough from 1981 to 1983.   In 1986, Laurence was diagnosed with lung cancer late in the disease’s development. According to the James King biography, The Life of Margaret Laurence, the prognosis was grave, and as the cancer had spread to other organs, there was no treatment offered beyond palliative care. Laurence decided the best course of action was to spare herself and her family further suffering. She committed suicide at her home at 8 Regent St., Lakefield, on January 5, 1987. She was buried in her hometown in the Neepawa Cemetery, Neepawa, Manitoba. Laurence’s house in Neepawa has been turned into a museum. Her literary papers are housed in the Clara Thomas Archives at York University in Toronto and at McMaster University’s William Ready Division of Archives and Research Collections in Hamilton.

Literary career

One of Canada’s most esteemed and beloved authors by the end of her literary career, Laurence began writing short stories shortly after her marriage, as did her husband. Each published fiction in literary periodicals while living in Africa, but Margaret continued to write and expand her range. Her early novels were influenced by her experience as a minority in Africa. They show a strong sense of Christian symbolism and ethical concern for being a white person in a colonial state.   It was after her return to Canada that she wrote The Stone Angel, the book for which she is best known. Set in a fictional Manitoba small town called Manawaka, the novel is narrated retrospectively by Hagar Shipley, a ninety year old woman living in her eldest son’s home in Vancouver. Published in 1964, the novel is of the literary form that looks at the entire life of a person, and Laurence produced a novel from a Canadian experience. After finishing school, the narrator moves from Toronto to Manitoba, and marries a rough-mannered homesteader, Bram Shipley, against the wishes of her father, who then disinherits her — disinheritance a recurring theme in much of Laurence’s fiction. The couple struggles through the economic hardship and climatic challenges of Canadian frontier existence, and Hagar, unhappy in the relationship, leaves Bram, moving with her son John to Vancouver where she works as a domestic for many years, betraying her social class and upbringing. The novel is required reading in many North American school systems and colleges.

Laurence was published by Canadian publishing company McClelland and Stewart, and she became one of the key figures in the emerging Canadian literature tradition. Her published works after The Stone Angel express the changing role of women’s lives in the 1970s. Although on the surface, her later works like The Diviners depict very different roles for women than her earlier novels do, it is safe to say that Laurence throughout her career was faithfully dedicated to presenting a female perspective on contemporary life, depicting the choices — and consequences of those choices — women must make to find meaning and purpose in life.   In later life, Laurence was troubled when a fundamentalist Christian group succeeded in briefly removing The Diviners as course material from Lakefield High School, her local secondary school.   The Stone Angel, a feature-length film based on Laurence’s novel, written and directed by Kari Skogland and starring Ellen Burstyn premiered in Fall 2007.

Awards and recognition  

Laurence won two Governor General’s Awards for her novels A Jest of God (1966) and The Diviners (1974). In 1972 she was made a Companion of the Order of Canada.   The Margaret Laurence Memorial Lecture is an annual lecture series organized by the Writers’ Trust of Canada.   The Stone Angel was one of the selected books in the 2002 edition of Canada Reads, championed by Leon Rooke.   The University of Winnipeg named a Women’s Studies Centre, and an annual speaker series, in Laurence’s honour.   At York University in Toronto, one of the undergraduate residence buildings (Bethune Residence) named a floor after her.

Bibliography

Novels

This Side Jordan (1960)  The Stone Angel (1964)  A Jest of God (1966)  The Fire-Dwellers (1969)  The Diviners (1974)

Short story collections  

The Tomorrow-Tamer (1963)  A Bird in the House (1970)  Horses of the Night   Children’s books  Jason’s Quest (1970)  Six Darn Cows (1979)  The Olden Days Coat (1980)  The Christmas Birthday Story (1982)

Non-fiction

A Tree for Poverty (1954) — anthology of Somali poetry and folk stories  The Prophet’s Camel Bell (1963) — non-fiction account of Laurence’s life in British Somaliland  Long Drums and Cannons: Nigerian Dramatists and Novelists 1952-1966 (1968)  Heart of a Stranger (1976) — essays  Dance on the Earth: A Memoir (1989)

Courtesy: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margaret_Laurence

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Poem- Einstein, My Dad and I By V.N.Giritharan

looking at the starry night sky,
Beside my dad,
in front of our house,
A sweet childhood memory!
 
As he lay down on the easy chair,
I find a hammock in the 
*Sarong he wore..
 
While looking at the night sky,
listening to him
from the hammock
where I lay down
is my favorite pass time.
 
He talked about stars;
He talked about planets;
He talked about satellites;
He talked about many other
astronomical things.
 
I listened; listened; listened
with great interest.
 
I felt wonder when listening to him.
I felt astonishment when looking at him.
 
In one of these precious moments,
He talked about Albert Einstein.
That was the first time
I heard about him.
he has been my favorite
person of knowledge
there after.
 
Space and Time are
no longer separate;
No longer absolute,
but relative
except
the speed of light.
 
Space and Time are
no longer separate
entities,
but
A non separable.
space-time continuum.
 
We exist in
the space-time continuum,
he declared.
 
Einstein, A man of
cosmic intellect;
A true
knowledge – revolutionary
on space-time.
 
* Sarong – A fabric often wrapped around the waist and worn by men and women in many Asian countries. It is also known as lungi in India.
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Alice Munro [From Wickipedia, the free encyclopedia]

 

alice_munro_nobe;prize2013Alice Ann Munro (née Laidlaw; born 10 July 1931) is a Canadian author writing in English. The recipient of the 2013 Nobel Prize in Literature and the 2009 Man Booker International Prize for her lifetime body of work, she is also a three-time winner of Canada’s Governor General’s Award for fiction.

The focus of Munro’s fiction is her native southwestern Ontario. Her “accessible, moving stories” explore human complexities in a seemingly effortless style. Munro’s writing has established her as “one of our greatest contemporary writers of fiction,” or, as Cynthia Ozick put it, “our Chekhov.”[6] In 2013, Munro was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature for her work as “master of the modern short story”.

Early life
alice_munroMunro was born in Wingham, Ontario. Her father, Robert Eric Laidlaw, was a fox and mink farmer, and her mother, Anne Clarke Laidlaw (née Chamney), was a schoolteacher. Munro began writing as a teenager, publishing her first story, “The Dimensions of a Shadow,” in 1950 while a student at the University of Western Ontario. During this period she worked as a waitress, a tobacco picker, and a library clerk. In 1951, she left the university, where she had been majoring in English since 1949, to marry fellow student James Munro. In 1963 the couple moved to Victoria where they opened Munro’s Books which still operates.

Career
Munro’s highly acclaimed first collection of stories, Dance of the Happy Shades (1968), won the Governor General’s Award, Canada’s highest literary prize. That success was followed by Lives of Girls and Women (1971), a collection of interlinked stories sometimes erroneously described as a novel. In 1978, Munro’s collection of interlinked stories Who Do You Think You Are? was published (titled The Beggar Maid: Stories of Flo and Rose in the United States). This book earned Munro a second Governor General’s Literary Award. From 1979 to 1982, she toured Australia, China and Scandinavia. In 1980 Munro held the position of Writer-in-Residence at both the University of British Columbia and the University of Queensland. Through the 1980s and 1990s, she published a short-story collection about once every four years.

Alice Munro’s stories have appeared frequently in publications such as The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, Grand Street, Mademoiselle, and The Paris Review. In interviews to promote her 2006 collection The View from Castle Rock, Munro suggested that she might not publish any further collections. She has since recanted and published further work. Her collection, Too Much Happiness, was published in August 2009. Her story “The Bear Came Over the Mountain” was adapted for the screen and directed by Sarah Polley as the film Away from Her, starring Julie Christie and Gordon Pinsent. It debuted at the 2006 Toronto International Film Festival. Polley’s adaptation was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay, but lost to No Country for Old Men.

At a Toronto appearance in October 2009, Munro indicated that she received treatment for cancer and a heart condition, the latter requiring bypass surgery. At that time, she indicated that her next work would involve a theme of sexual ambivalence.

On 10 October 2013, Munro was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, being cited as “master of the contemporary short story”. Munro is the first Canadian to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature, and the 13th woman laureate in its history.

Personal life
Munro married James Munro in 1951. Their daughters Sheila, Catherine, and Jenny were born in 1953, 1955, and 1957 respectively; Catherine died 15 hours after birth.

In 1963, the Munros moved to Victoria where they opened Munro’s Books, a popular bookstore still in business. In 1966, their daughter Andrea was born. Alice and James Munro were divorced in 1972.

She returned to Ontario to become Writer-in-Residence at the University of Western Ontario, and in 1976 received an honorary LL.D. from the institution. In 1976 she married Gerald Fremlin, a geographer. The couple moved to a farm outside Clinton, Ontario, and later to a house in Clinton, where Fremlin died in April 2013.

Tribute
In 2002, her daughter Sheila Munro published a childhood memoir, Lives of Mothers and Daughters: Growing Up With Alice Munro.

Courtesy: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alice_Munro

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My humble request to the bellicose rulers of the world! By V.N.Giritharan

This is my humble request
to the bellicose rulers
of the world.

Do you know Ashoka?

Ashoka the great,
a great Indian emperor
who ruled the country
two thousand years ago.

He, a warmonger
became a great
peacemonger.

He , a warrior
became a great
pacifist.

He fought a bloody
war in Kalinga.

A war of destruction.

A war of
great human tragedy.

Ashoka the great,
a great Indian emperor
witnessed the human
tragedy which he himself
caused.

Witnessing the
war and its effects,
affected him
profoundly;
changed him
forever.

Ashoka , a man of war
became a man of
love ; a man of
peace.

Two thosand years ago
a war changed him
into a peace loving
man, a Buddhist.

You Demagogues,
You Hypocrites,
You warmongers,

how many wars
Have you, rulers
of the modern world,
waged
in the name of
peace;
in the name of
language;
in the name of
religion;
in the name of
nationalism.

My humble request
to you, bellicose rulers
of the world, is
this:

When are you
going to learn
a lesson
from the past;
from the story
of Ashoka,
a great Indian emperor,
who ruled the country
two thousand years ago?

* Ashoka: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ashoka

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Poem: An Urban Folk’s Cry! By V.N.Giritharan

Trees -> Sky Trees!

The boastful human’s
pridefulness.

Sky Trees!
The trees of technology!

The ego of the modern human!

The Images,
the electromagnetic dances
of waves.

The image- controlled spaces,
the lives of humans continue
slowly
inside.

Do the Sky Trees
produce foods?
Do the Sky Trees
produce fruits?

Can we drink from the illusionary
lakes of asphalt?

Oh! Twinkle, twinkle
little stars! .
Without you,
the urban night sky
feels lonlieness.
Do you know that?

Oh! My flying friends!
Oh! My swimming friends!
Oh! my walking friends!
Oh! my crawling friends!

My dear friends,
Where are you?
Where are you hiding?

Tell me! Please tell me!
Show me your faces
at least
once.

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Poem: The (M) Other land! By V.N.Giritharan

It seems like only yesterday.
but many years passed by
quickly, very quickly
since I left the land of my
birth.
It also seems that
time runs fast; even faster than
the speed of light.
Maybe not really,
but It actually runs faster
than I thought it did.

I still remember the
day , when
I decided to leave
the land of my birth;
the land where my mother, father,
their parents, my ancestors were
born; the land where they grew up;
the land where they made love each other;
the land where they started their family;
the land where I was born;
the land where I grew up:
the land where I went to school;
the land where I spent my youth
with dreams of youthful joy.

That was the day ,
the land of my birth
lost its innocence;
That was the day , the land of
my youthful dreams lost its
youthfulness;
That was the day the land of joy
lost its joyful nature.

That was the day
that Hell triumphed
Paradise.
The Paradise lost
its innocence.
It was the day when
the jungle of concrete
became a jungle
of man eating ,
blood thirsty animals.
My people
of all ages and
of all genders,
ran for their lives.
That was the day
they lost their self respect.
Since then,
they have been running,
running, running,
through the lands;
through the waters;
still running.

Over turned vehicles; burnt
buildings, chared corpses
of human beings;
chaos! chaos! chaos!
Anarchy! Carnage!
Everywhere! everywhere!
smoke of destruction,
smoke of human dignity,
smoke of human values,
it was a real Hell
on earth.

That was the day
when my motherland
lost its mutual respect;
that was the day
when my mother land
lost its mutual love;
that was the day
when my mother land
lost its mutual understanding.

that was the day
when my motherland
became
the other land.

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Poem: Night By V.N.Giritharan

The mother bird
stretches its wings.

Wings of darkness.

Under the mother’s
warmish embrace,
now
the chicks can
sleep peacefully
until
dawn.

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Poem: The wanderers of the sky and their cry of melancholy. BY V.N.Giritharan

While lying in bed,
the sounds of the rainy night,
the view of the gloomy sky,
touch my heart deep
inside.

It has been raining
cats and dogs since
dawn.

Rain.
The tears of the refugees,
The tears of the stateless wanderers
of the sky,
The clouds.

As usual,
while lying in bed,
the sounds of the
rainy night,
the view of the
gloomy sky
touch my heart
deep inside.

Cry of melancholy.
The wanderers’ cry of melancholy.
Cry of Anguish.
The wanderers’ cry of anguish.
They cry for the land they
Lost.

It’s thundering
outside.
There’s lightening
outside.
It’s raining
outside.

Frogs croak
from the fields
near by.

The diffused sounds
of nature
reach my ears.

A thunderous night.
A flash of light

The thunder follows
the light.

The darkness follows
the brightness.

Brightness triumphs darkness.

A flash of light;
A ray of hope.

 

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