Margaret Laurence

(1150 words)
  • Tanya Butler

Jean Margaret Wemyss was born in the small prairie town of Neepawa, Manitoba, on July 18, 1926, to a middle-class family of Lowland Scots and Irish descent. Her mother, Verna Simpson Wemyss, a music teacher, died when Laurence was four and her father, Robert Wemyss, a lawyer, died when she was ten. Despite the fact that Laurence was raised by a loving aunt (who became her stepmother), her fiction's concern with themes of disinheritance, dispossession, roots, and orphanage testifies to the long-lasting effect her parents' deaths had on her. After her father's death, Laurence and her family lived with her maternal grandfather, John Simpson, whose autocratic and repressive character made a deep impression on the sensitive child, an …

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Butler, Tanya. "Margaret Laurence". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 21 November 2001
[, accessed 27 September 2016.]