Reflections on a Fabulous Night

copyright, Yuka Kajihara

copyright, Yuka Kajihara

Last night, Laura Robinson, Benjamin Lefebvre and I gave a talk at the North York Central Library in Toronto, Ontario, The Canadian Home Front: L.M. Montgomery’s Reflections of War. I hadn’t been back to that branch in quite sometime and it was fun to speak at a library I had used so often when I was in High School.

copyright, Yuka Kajihara

copyright, Yuka Kajihara






The turn out was fabulous. We had over 75 people in attendance, which also means that they had to add two more rows of chairs! Sharon Andic, Senior Department Head for Children’s Books, was so fabulous, making sure we had everything we needed and is responsible for bringing the exhibit to the library.  She helped Laura with her exhibit, complimenting it with some pretty book displays. They even served sweet raspberry cordial.*

Laura went up first. Her lecture, Laura Robinson“The Canadian Home Front: L.M. Montgomery and the First World War,” discussed the origins of her exhibit, highlighting some of the themes and experiences Montgomery explored in Rilla of Ingleside; in particular how women across Canada helped in the war effort during World War I. I’ve seen Laura talk about this many times and every time I see something new.

Melanie FIshbane

I was up next, discussing some of the things I’ve been considering while writing the novel. “‘Full and Frank:'” L.M. Montgomery’s Reflections on Teen Romance and Writing,”** gave me a chance to talk about Montgomery’s first two boyfriends, Nate Lockhart and Will Pritchard, as well as how she was exploring and learning to write as a teenager. I keep coming back to this idea of choice between what society was expecting her to do (marry) and what she wanted to do (write.)

Benjamin Lefebvre

Last up was Benjamin Lefebvre. His lecture, “Reviewer’s Reflection on L.M. Montgomery’s War Books,”  highlighted some of his research from The Montgomery Reader: A Legacy in Review that released this past month. He pulled out reviews on the books published during the war years, Anne of the Island, Anne’s House of Dreams, and Rainbow Valley and then showed how reviewers responded to Rilla of Ingleside. The slide here is a quote from Kingston’s Whit Weekly which said in its review of Anne of the Island about how many “books deals with the sex problem,” Anne of the Island doesn’t. We aren’t quite sure what it means by “the sex problem,” but we are certainly curious.

Here’s we three after the talk and Q&A. There is always that feeling of exhilaration when one is done.

copyright, Yuka Kajihara

copyright, Yuka Kajihara

Thanks to Laura, Ben, Sharon, the TPL, and everyone who attended for creating such a lovely evening.



*Special thanks to Yuka Kajihara for giving me permission to post some of the photos she took last night.

** Special shout out to Nilesh Modi who designed the template for my power point  Nilesh Modi Neel Modi, Communications Designerpresentation based on photos I had taken of the journal cover I had created inspired by Montgomery’s journals. You can see his work at:

About Melanie J. Fishbane

My novel, MAUD: A Novel Inspired by the Life of L.M. Montgomery was published in 2017 through Penguin Random House on April 25, 2017. I hold an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. Here I talk about my writing process, things I love, and creative people who inspire me.
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6 Responses to Reflections on a Fabulous Night

  1. We really should do this more often!

  2. Kate Sykes says:

    I SO wish I could have gone! All of the talks sound fascinating, but I’m especially interested in your reflections on Montgomery’s teen romance and writing, Melanie. I hope I can read about your thoughts on this – as well as your YA novel – someday soon!

    • I am sorry that you couldn’t make it as well. Next time (hopefully.) I am so glad that you’re interested in this. I’ve been thinking about this often (of course), particularly the idea of a young woman learning to write. Her process.

      • Kate Sykes says:

        Yes! Over the holidays I read Mary Henley Rubio’s biography of Montgomery for the first time and really enjoyed it, especially the mentions of Montgomery’s writing process. (Although I was curious to learn more.) She’s just such a fascinating woman!

  3. Yes, every time you think that you know something, you read something else and your entire perspective changes.

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