Professors evaluate Anne of Green Gables at Writer’s Festival

The Eden Mills Writers’ Festival will pay tribute to the centenary anniversary of the publication of Anne of Green Gables at the Montgomery Anne of Green Gables set on Sept. 7, from 4:30 to 5:30pm at the cottage site.

Anne is Canada’s most fam­ous fictional export and is a be­loved figure in the lives of many readers from all over the world. L.M. Montgomery in­flu­enced some of the best Canadian writers. "Montgom­ery’s books have been con­ti­nually in print since the 1908 publication of Anne of Green Gables; that is a highly unusual and enviable position, especi­ally in Canada,” said the fes­tival’s co-artistic director, Jen­ny Kitson..

Mary Rubio and Elizabeth Waterston, former University of Guelph professors, have been researching the book’s author Lucy Maud Montgom­ery for over 30 years, produc­ing several volumes of Mon­tgomery’s journals as well as a forthcoming biography, A Gift of Wings: the Life of Lucy Maud Montgomery (Double­day  2008) by Rubio.

Rubio and Waterston will help illuminate Montgomery’s life and character using new information, never before pub­lished, from the biography due out in October. The set will include an interview segment, dur­ing which the audience may ask questions.

 Rubio noted that the book has been translated at last count into 34 languages and has had enormous cultural impact all over the world. In the 1930s, Anne of Green Gables and Mont­gomery’s other books start­ed being marketed as child­ren’s literature, said Ru­b­io. But since the publication of her journals, starting in 1985, helped by changing critical norms, they are now seen as the influential books that they were.

Waterston said how, in re-reading the Montgomery nov­els as a professor of English, it became clear that they were more than "children’s books" and that Anne, in particular, had the mysterious power of a universal classic. Waterston will read from Magic Island, a study of the way Montgom­ery’s life shaped her fiction. Waterston has never dulled to the book’s effect: “Every time I looked up a quotation for some learned article, I found myself re-reading the whole darn book.”

Eden Mills Writers’ Festi­val, is celebrating its 20th anniversary, will be held Sept. 7, from noon to 6pm, with 50 guest authors in attendance, and includes youth and child­ren’s sites. To mark the 20th anniversary, festival founder and author Leon Rooke will be reading.

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