Laurence, Margaret (Jean Margaret Laurence), 1926–87, Canadian novelist, b. Manitoba. She lived in Somaliland, Ghana, and England and many of her early works had an African setting. Laurence was particularly concerned with character, and her writings usually focused on women struggling to overcome the limitations of small town life. Among her novels are This Side Jordan (1960), The Stone Angel (1964), A Jest of God (1966), upon which the film Rachel, Rachel (1968) was based, The Fire-Dwellers (1969), and The Diviners (1974). In addition, Laurence published works on African literature, notably A Tree for Poverty (1954), a collection of Somali folktales and poetry, and Long Drums and Cannons: Nigerian Dramatists and Novelists (1968), a critical evaluation.
See her Dance on the Earth: A Memoir (1989).
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