RDC instructor nabs national grant, to research author Margaret Laurence

A Red Deer College instructor with a passion for famed Canadian author Margaret Laurence has been awarded a national grant to research the author and her relationship with Canadian publisher Jack McClelland.

A Red Deer College instructor with a passion for famed Canadian author Margaret Laurence has been awarded a national grant to research the author and her relationship with Canadian publisher Jack McClelland.

Laura Davis, an English instructor at the college and a specialist in Laurence’s fiction, applied for the grant after a 25-year restriction to archived company letters at the McClelland and Stewart publishing house was lifted in 2012.

Davis is looking forward to the opportunity to learn about one of Canada’s most well-known authors through the newly available letters.

“When she was alive, a lot of scholars focused on Laurence as a feminist writer,” said Davis.

“We will give attention to how Laurence, who was very attuned to cultural differences in her work, wrote about multiculturalism, immigrants and her relationship to Metis and Anglo-Saxon descendants.”

Davis hopes the letters will give insight into what it meant to be Canadian at a time when multiculturalism was being shaped in Canada.

The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada grant is worth $43,000. Davis included Linda Morra, a professor at Bishops University in Sherbrooke, Que., in the grant application and will also hire a student from RDC to be a research assistant.

“Another exciting layer of this project is its collaborative nature and that it creates a significant practical opportunity for an undergrad student at RDC,” said Davis.

“An opportunity that, given the nature of the grant, would typically be offered to a masters student at a university.”

The research will be presented at a public lecture at RDC and at a scholarly conference in 2014.