Jean Margaret Wemyss, better known as Margaret Laurence, (July 18, 1926 - January 5, 1987) was a Canadian novelist.
Born Jean Margaret Wemyss in Neepawa, Manitoba, she was the daughter of a solicitor. Following her graduation from United College in Winnipeg, Manitoba in 1947, she married John Fergus Laurence, an engineer. His job took them to England (1949), the then-British protectorate of Somaliland (1950-1952) and Ghana (1952-1957), and Laurence's great admiration for Africa and the African peoples can be seen in her writing. The marriage ended in divorce in 1969.
Laurence's first novel, This Side Jordan (1960), set in the Gold Coast prior to Ghana's independence, received critical acclaim. She followed it up with several other works dealing with life in West Africa, both from a Western and an African viewpoint. Her second and subsequent novels shifted location to Canada. In 1967 she won the Governor-General's Award for her novel A Jest of God (1966). In 1972 Laurence was made a Companion of the Order of Canada.
A Tree for Poverty (1954) is an anthology of Somali poetry and folk stories
This Side Jordan (1960)
The Tomorrow-Tamer (1963) is a collection of ten short stories set in West Africa
The Prophet's Camel Bell (1963) is a non-fiction account of Laurence's life in Somaliland
The Stone Angel (1964) is set in Manawaka, Ontario.
A Jest of God (1966) was also set in Manawaka. It won the Governor-General's Award in 1967. The book was made into the 1968 movie Rachel, Rachel, starring Joanne Woodward.
The Fire-Dwellers (1969)
The Diviners (1974)
Long Drums and Cannons: Nigerian Dramatists and Novelists 1952-1966 (1968)
A Bird in the House is another collection of short stories (1970)
Jason's Quest (1970)
Heart of a Stranger (1976)