This International Women’s Day, we would like to take the opportunity and highlight eight biographies/memoirs of interesting women who have lived in various parts of the Maritimes. Each of the books share stories of courage, perseverance, and influence that we can all learn from and be inspired by. Happy International Women’s Day to everyone, from Nimbus!
1. Mona Parsons: From Privilege to Prison, from Nova Scotia to Nazi Europe
From a Nova Scotian childhood, she became a 1920s New York chorus girl, a Depression-era nurse, a prisoner of the Nazis, and an escaped, emaciated fugitive who walked across Nazi Germany in the dying months of World War II. The process of uncovering the story of Mona Parsons took almost as many twists and turns as the life it was piecing together.
2. We Keep A Light
In We Keep A Light, Evelyn M. Richardson describes how she and her husband bought tiny Bon Portage Island and built a happy life there for themselves and their three children.
3. Helen Creighton: Canada’s First Lady of Folklore
Helen Creighton was born at the turn of the nineteenth century and until her death in 1989, she made a remarkable contribution towards retrieving the stories, songs, and legends that have shaped the culture and the people of the Maritimes. Written by her protégé and fellow folklorist, Clary Croft, this intimate biography offers both an intriguing portrait of a woman whose life was destined to become woven into the fabric of Canadian folklore, and a fascinating glimpse into the social mores of her time.
4. Illuminated Life Of Maud Lewis
The Illuminated Life of Maud Lewis is an invitation to share once again with the world the perceptions of this celebrated Nova Scotia folk artist in prose, photographs, and reproductions of her works.
5. Field Notes: A City Girl’s Search for Heart and Home in Rural Nova Scotia
Sara Jewell has collected lots of addresses–eighteen in total–including four in Vancouver, British Columbia, and three in her hometown of Cobourg, Ontario. But there was one address that always remained constant: Pugwash Point Road in rural Nova Scotia. Field Notes includes forty-one essays on the differences, both subtle and drastic, between city life and country living. From curious neighbours and unpredictable weather to the reality of roadkill and the wonders of wildlife, award-winning narrative journalist Sara Jewell strikes the perfect balance between honest self-examination and humorous observation.
6. Elizabeth Bishop
Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Elizabeth Bishop (1911-1979) is best known as an American author, but she spent formative years in Great Village, Nova Scotia, and in fact called herself “3/4ths Canadian.” In recent decades there has been a growing movement in Nova Scotia to reconnect appreciation of Bishop with the landscape of her childood. This pictorial biography highlights the early influence of Bishop’s maternal family and the cultural community of Great Village, and the poet’s lifelong ties to Nova Scotia.
7. Molly Kool
Born and raised in Alma, New Brunswick, Molly Kool started her life at sea helping her father sail the lumber scow the Jean K through some of the most challenging waters in the world, including the changing tides of the Bay of Fundy and the Reversing Falls in Saint John. When it came time for Molly to choose her own career, her first instinct was to get her captain’s licence, but doing so would involve more than just hard work–it would also mean changing some of Canada’s oldest laws.
8. The Years Before Anne: The Early Career of Lucy Maud Montgomery, Author of Anne of Green Gables
Lucy Maud Montgomery (1874-1942) is best known for Anne of Green Gables, first published in 1908, but her literary career was firmly established before this endearing novel brought her international acclaim. Francis W. P. Bolger, who teaches history at the University of Prince Edward Island, has compiled an informative and complete picture of the fascinating life and brilliant career of Lucy Maud Montgomery, drawing on her scrapbooks, letters, diaries, photos and conversations with family members.