L.M. Montgomery YA Novel Set for 2015

LMMadolescentLast week, a press release announced that Penguin Canada had acquired a young adult novel based on the adolescent life of L.M. Montgomery. Its author, Melanie J. Fishbane, recently received her MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. She has also blogged on this site before (and she knows more about YA fiction than anyone else I know!). The novel will be published under Penguin Canada’s Razorbill imprint in 2015, with the support of L.M. Montgomery’s heirs.

This is a very exciting project. Although Montgomery’s fiction has been reimagined, extended, and transformed in innumerable ways—prequels, adaptations for stage and screen, parodies, and abridgements—her own life is far less known to most readers of her books. Yet many readers of her journals and letters find her own life story just as fascinating and compelling—if not more so—as her fiction. In fact, so far her life story has been dramatized solely for the stage: Don Hannah’s The Wooden Hill (1994), Anne Kathleen McLaughlin’s Maud of Cavendish (2004), Leo Marchildon and Adam-Michael James’s The Nine Lives of L.M. Montgomery (2008), and Maud of Leaskdale (2012). This will be the first time that Montgomery’s own life story is tackled in print outside the genre of biography, and it will also be the first such project to focus exclusively on Montgomery’s young life as an adolescent.

I’m very much looking forward to this exciting project, which will introduce a new take of Montgomery’s life to an audience of readers who will likely discover, as have readers of her life writing already, that she is just as compelling a protagonist as her best-known characters.

Announcing The L.M. Montgomery Reader, Volume 1

The L.M. Montgomery Reader 1Announcing the forthcoming publication of The L.M. Montgomery Reader, Volume 1: A Life in Print, which will be published by University of Toronto Press in October 2013.

An exciting new collection, The L.M. Montgomery Reader assembles significant rediscovered primary materials on one of Canada’s most enduringly popular authors throughout her high-profile career as the author of the resoundingly successful Anne of Green Gables (1908) and after her death. Each of its three volumes gathers pieces published all over the world to set the stage for a much-needed reassessment of Montgomery’s literary reputation. Much of the material is freshly unearthed from archives and digital collections and has never before been collected in book form.

The selections appearing in this first volume focus on Montgomery’s role as a public celebrity, giving a strong impression of her as a writer and cultural critic as she discusses a range of topics with wit, wisdom, and humour, including the natural landscape of Prince Edward Island, her wide readership, anxieties about modernity, and the continued relevance of “old ideals.” These essays and interviews are joined by a number of additional pieces that discuss her work’s literary and cultural value in relation to an emerging canon of Canadian literature, with nearly one hundred selections in all.

Each volume is accompanied by an extensive introduction and detailed commentary by leading Montgomery scholar Benjamin Lefebvre that trace the interplay between the author and the critic, as well as between the private and public Montgomery. This volume – and the Reader as a whole – adds tremendously to our understanding and appreciation of Montgomery’s legacy as a Canadian author and as a literary celebrity both during and beyond her lifetime.

Complete Journals 1901–1911 Available in March 2013

The next volume of Montgomery’s unabridged journals, The Complete Journals of L.M. Montgomery: The PEI Years, 1901–1911, edited by Mary Henley Rubio and Elizabeth Hillman Waterston, will be published by Oxford University Press in March 2013! It is available for pre-order on Amazon.ca and on Chapters.Indigo.ca, and more information can be found on the website for Oxford University Press Canada.

Complete Journals 1889–1900 Forthcoming in September 2012

The Complete Journals of L.M. Montgomery: The PEI Years, 1889–1900, edited by Mary Henley Rubio and Elizabeth Hillman Waterston, will be published by Oxford University Press in September 2012!

From the Oxford University Press website:

The first edition of The Selected Journals of L.M. Montgomery was published in the 1980s, with fifty percent of the material removed to save space, as well as to reflect a quaint, marketable vision of small-town Canada. The editors were instructed to excise anything that was not upbeat or did not “move the story along.” The resulting account of Montgomery’s youthful life in Prince Edward Island depicts a fun-loving, simple country girl. The unabridged journal, however, reveals something quite different.

We now know that Montgomery was anything but simple. She was often anxious, bitter, dark, and political, although always able to see herself and her surroundings with a deep ironic – and often comical – twist. The unabridged version shows her using writing as a means of managing her own mood swings, as well as her increasing dependency on journal keeping, and her ambition as a writer. She was also exceedingly interested in men. We see here a more developed portrait of what she herself described as a “very uncomfortable blend” between “the passionate Montgomery blood and the Puritan Macneill conscience.” Full details describe the impassioned events during which she describes becoming a “new creature,” “born of sorrow … and hopeless longing.”

In addition, this unedited account is a striking visual record, containing hundreds of her own photographs placed as she placed them in her journals, as well as newspaper clippings, postcards, and professional portraits, all with her own original captions. New notes and a new introduction give key context to the history, the people, and the culture in the text. A new preface by Michael Bliss draws some unexpected connections.

The full PEI journals tells a fascinating tale of a young woman coming of age in a bygone rural Canada, a tale far thornier and far more compelling than the first selected edition could disclose.

The book is available for pre-order on Amazon.ca.

Anne’s World Now Available!

Anne’s World: A New Century of Anne of Green Gables, a new collection of essays edited by Irene Gammel and Benjamin Lefebvre and published by University of Toronto Press, is now available in paperback! The hardcover edition will be published later this summer.

The recent 100-year anniversary of the first publication of L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables has inspired renewed interest in one of Canada’s most beloved fictional icons. The international appeal of the red-haired orphan has not diminished over the past century, and the cultural meaning of her story continues to grow and change. The original essays in Anne’s World offer fresh and timely approaches to issues of culture, identity, health, and globalization as they apply to Montgomery’s famous character and to today’s readers.

Elizabeth Glenn at the University of Toronto Press website recently blogged on “Anne of the World,” mentioning both Anne’s World and the LMMI conference L.M. Montgomery and the Matter of Nature.

Announcement: Una of the Garden

Announcing the publication of Una of the Garden, a facsimile edition of a long-lost serial by L.M. Montgomery first published in in The Housekeeper in 1908–1909! Here is the official announcement from the L.M. Montgomery Institute:

2010 marks the 100th anniversary of the publication of L.M. Montgomery’s third novel, Kilmeny of the Orchard. In celebration, the L.M. Montgomery Institute will release a facsimile edition of Una of the Garden, the story that evolved into the Kilmeny novel.

“Una of the Garden” was first published in serial format in The Housekeeper magazine in 1908–1909, but the scarcity of back issues of this magazine made Montgomery’s story inaccessible, until now. The facsimile edition booklet, reproduced from the holdings of the Ryrie-Campbell Collection at LMMI, offers a fascinating opportunity to experience Montgomery’s work within the context of the original magazine publication, including illustrations and advertisements. The booklet also provides insight about the transformation from the story to the novel.

Una of the Garden is edited by Donna J. Campbell and Simon Lloyd, with an introduction by Kate Macdonald Butler.

Proceeds from the sale of this publication will go directly to support the work of the L.M. Montgomery Institute.

Booklet Cost: $20 Canadian or US funds

Purchase Options:
~ L.M. Montgomery Institute General Store
(Available soon:  www.lmmontgomery.ca    PayPal accepted.)

~ L.M. Montgomery Conference held in PEI in June 2010

~ Email contact: campbell.walden@sympatico.ca
(Cash, Money Order, or Canadian $ cheque accepted.)

New Collector’s Guide

A Collector's Guide to L.M. Montgomery Firsts, by Frank and Juanita LechowickThe following notice appears on the website of the L.M. Montgomery Institute, concerning Frank and Juanita Lechowick’s new book, A Collector’s Guide to L.M. Montgomery Firsts:

In the course of research in libraries and used book stores from Charlottetown to Victoria, the authors have discovered the points of Montgomery’s original editions, from Anne of Green Gables (1908) to Anne of Ingleside (1939). A Collector’s Guide to L.M. Montgomery Firsts presents their findings systematically, with photographs and descriptions of each of the 39 first editions.

Puffin Classics reissues Anne of Avonlea and Anne of the Island

Anne of Green Gables (Puffin Classics, 2008)Anne of Avonlea (Puffin Classics, 2009)Anne of the Island (Puffin Classics, 2009)

Puffin Classics will reissue Anne of Avonlea and Anne of the Island on 6 August 2009 on the U.K. (available in Canada on 24 November 2009), joining their reissue last year of Anne of Green Gables with an introduction by Lauren Child. As you can see from the covers above, the authors of the introductions to the second and third books are to be confirmed, although Amazon suggests that Budge Wilson has written the introduction to Anne of Avonlea. I’ll let you know once I hear anything more.