Press release: Epperly to Headline 2010 Montgomery Conference

The following press release announces the 9th International L.M. Montgomery conference, L.M. Montgomery and the Matter of Nature, hosted by the L.M. Montgomery Institute of the University of Prince Edward Island on 23–27 June 2010. For more information, including a list of scheduled events, see the conference website.

Former UPEI president Dr. Elizabeth Rollins (‘Betsy’) Epperly, a world-renowned scholar and author on the life and work of L.M. Montgomery, will headline the international conference, “L.M. Montgomery and the Matter of Nature” running June 23 to 27 at UPEI. Her talk, “Natural Bridge: L.M. Montgomery and the Architecture of Imaginative Landscapes” promises to be a highlight in four days of discussion and enjoyment of the enduring legacy of the province’s best-known writer.

“We are thrilled that Betsy can be such an important part of this event,” says conference co-chair Dr. Jean Mitchell of UPEI. “Betsy has so much knowledge and passion for Montgomery that people are always eager to hear what she has to say.”

Ever since Epperly helped establish the L.M. Montgomery Institute at UPEI in 1993, its international conference on Montgomery has become an essential focal point for the rapidly-growing field of Montgomery studies. 2010 marks the ninth such conference, and will draw scholars and admirers from across North America and around the world, with presenters from Europe, Australia, Africa, and Asia.

The 2008 Conference attracted some 200 registrants to Charlottetown, and organizers expect a similarly enthusiastic response this year. Besides Epperly’s keynote, highlights will include: panel discussions of responses to Montgomery in Asia and Europe; a presentation by Canada Research Chair and leading Montgomery scholar Irene Gammel; and the PEI launch of two publications of recently-rediscovered Montgomery works, The Blythes Are Quoted (edited by conference co-chair and LMMI visiting scholar Dr. Benjamin Lefebvre) and Una of the Garden. All are welcome to register, and day and session passes are available for those unable to attend the full conference. For more information and to register, visit lmmontgomery.ca/events/conference2010, e-mail cydennis@upei.ca, or call 902-628-4346.

The Blythes Are Quoted on CBC’s “Year in Books”

The publication of The Blythes Are Quoted has been selected as one of the “10 biggest publishing stories of 2009″ on a CBC.ca news story:

Fans of the precocious, freckle-faced redhead from P.E.I. had reason to rejoice this year when an amended version of the final Anne Shirley stories was released under a new title, The Blythes Are Quoted. But the book’s additional 100 pages revealed a darker story – complete with references to adultery and suicide. Novelist Jane Urquhart ably provided a context for these bleak scenes in her comprehensive, unflinching biography of Anne’s author, Lucy Maud Montgomery. Anne’s banner year ended with a triumphant Sotheby’s auction – proof that great CanLit never goes out of fashion.

See “The Year in Books” for the full story.

Interview on CBC Radio’s Ontario Today

I will be interviewed on Ontario Today on Monday, 14 December 2009, sometime between 12:00 and 12:30, on CBC Radio One:

L.M. Montgomery’s last manuscript, The Blythes are Quoted, has just been published for the first time in its entirety. The manuscript was submitted to Montgomery’s publisher the day she died. It’s the ninth volume in the Anne series. The editor who re-discovered the typescript will be our guest on Ontario Today. And of course Ed Lawrence will join us as well.

UPDATED 15 DECEMBER 2009: The interview can be streamed from the Ontario Today website for the next thirty days.

Norval and Kitchener

I’ll be signing copies of The Blythes Are Quoted at the Lucy Maud Montgomery Museum located at Crawford’s Village Bakeshop in Norval, Ontario, on 12 December 2009 from 1:30 to 3:30 PM (more info), and also at the Kitchener Public Library in Kitchener, Ontario, on 16 December 2009 beginning at 6:30 PM (more info).

The Blythes Are Quoted Now Available

The Blythes Are Quoted

I’m pleased to announce that my edition of L.M. Montgomery’s rediscovered last book, The Blythes Are Quoted, is now available from Viking Canada.

UPDATED 24 OCTOBER: For more on this book, see the following links:

Waterloo-based academic finds L.M. Montgomery’s last ‘darker’ work” (Kitchener-Waterloo Record, 24 October 2009)

A different Anne and Gilbert” (The Globe and Mail, 23 October 2009)

Green Gables tale darkens in final book” (CBC News, 23 October 2009)

UPDATED 26 OCTOBER: See also my essay “The Dark Side of L.M. Montgomery,” published in The Mark.

The short story “Some Fools and a Saint” is now available for download from Penguin Canada’s website.

UPDATED 20 NOVEMBER:The Dark Side of L.M. Montgomery” now includes a podcast of me reading extracts from Anne of Windy Willows.

The Blythes Are Quoted in Winnipeg Free Press

The Blythes Are Quoted is mentioned in a Winnipeg Free Press article by Morley Walker titled “Book world slowly grasping value of sequels to classic tales,” which is primarily about the publication of a new Winnie-the-Pooh sequel, available today:

Here in Canada, the estate of L.M. Montgomery has got into the act. On Oct. 27, Penguin will release The Blythes are Quoted, an unabridged version of the stories Montgomery intended as the ninth volume in her Anne of Green Gables series.

Montgomery supposedly submitted the manuscript to her publisher the day she died in 1947 [sic].

She did, although she died in 1942.

The Blythes Are Quoted in The Guardian and Beyond

An article about The Blythes Are Quoted by Alison Flood appears in today’s The Guardian:

Lucy Maud Montgomery’s last work, featuring surprising experiments with poetry and prose, to be published in full

Penguin Canada is due to publish Lucy Maud Montgomery’s final book in its entirety, casting a new shadow over the author of Anne of Green Gables.

[...]

Despite the darker elements to The Blythes Are Quoted, Penguin is hoping to reach children as well as adults, aiming for the readers who bought Budge Wilson’s prequel to Anne’s story, Before Green Gables, last spring.

This story was subsequently picked up by the Wall Street Journal in today’s Morning Roundup blog:

Anne Returns, Again: Someone who wasn’t afraid of sequels is Lucy Maud Montgomery, the author of the “Anne of Green Gables” books. Penguin Canada is going to publish the ninth volume of the series in full. “The Blythes Are Quoted” follows freckle-faced heroine Anne Shirley through the First World War.

This story was then picked up again by The Examiner in an article by Peter Franklin called “A scandalous week“:

Lastly, it was revealed just today that Penguin Canada is set to publish an unabridged version of the final book of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s classic Anne of Green Gables series. Entitled The Blythes Are Quoted, the novel is said to include “adultery, illegitimacy, misogyny, revenge, murder, despair, bitterness, hatred, and death,” as well as an experimentation with storytelling not seen in the other volumes.

This development adds to the growing pall around Montgomery’s public perception; her granddaughter admitted last year that the children’s author had died of a drug overdose.

However, most shocking here is Penguin’s plan to market The Blythes Are Quoted in all of its murder and misogyny to kids. Alison Flood writes: “Penguin is hoping to reach children as well as adults, aiming for the readers who bought Budge Wilson’s prequel to Anne’s story, Before Green Gables, last spring.”

The Blythes Are Quoted in Quill & Quire’s Fall Preview

The Blythes Are Quoted has been included in the Canadian fiction section of Quill & Quire‘s Fall Preview, compiled by Steven W. Beattie and included in the July-August 2009 issue, available now:

Benjamin Lefebvre edits The Blythes Are Quoted (Penguin Canada, $25 cl., Oct.), a posthumous novel from L.M. Montgomery that features the author’s usual themes: adultery, misogyny, revenge, and murder.