One of Canada’s most cherished – and most exported – literary characters is PEI’s famed Anne of Green Gables, created by author Lucy Maud Montgomery in the early 1900’s. Montgomery’s many stories of lively red-headed orphan Anne Shirley, in addition to her other short stories, poems and novels, earned her international fame and put Prince Edward Island on the literary map. Anne of Green Gables was sent to Polish WWII soldiers on the front, while post-war Japan turned to Montgomery’s novels for lessons in optimism. To this day her stories inspire readers young and old and musicals, television movies and series based on Montgomery’s novels continue to draw in audiences all over the world.
Perhaps best known for her 2001 novel The Stone Carvers, which was shortlisted for both the 2001 Giller Prize and the Governor General’s Award, Ontario-born Jane Urquhart is a prolific Canadian author of poetry, novels, articles and reviews. Like Montgomery, Urquhart writes lyrically of the connection between landscape and memory, especially in the lives of women. Other honours of note include the 1997 Governor General’s Award for her novel The Underpainter, and 132 weeks on the Globe and Mail’s national bestseller list for her 1993 novel Away (a Canadian record). In 2005 Urquhart was named an Officer of the Order of Canada.