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de Leon, Lisa.

St. John's, Jesperson Press, c1985. 380pp, paper, $18.95, ISBN 0-920502-58-X.CIP

Grades 12 and up
Reviewed by Lillian M. Turner

Volume 14 Number 4
1986 July

de Leon, a midwest American, former Marine Corps Sergeant, and graduate in speech and drama, has resided for the past fourteen years in Gambo, Newfoundland, with her photographer and science teacher husband and their two children. She now teaches with her husband at Small-wood Academy, while completing research on the history of Newfoundland theatre.

The author selected these thirty-seven writers of poetry, fiction, essays, drama, biography, and folklore, beginning with EJ. Pratt and ending with Des Walsh, because of the numbers of their published works, their public recognition, and specialized fields. The format for each writer begins with a photograph, over half of them taken by Edwin de Leon, a short biography, synopses of selected published works, an excerpt from a poem, story, etc., a brief critical commentary, and concludes with an interview with either the writer, or one who personally knew the writer.

Some of the better-known writers represented are EJ. Prat, Joseph Smallwood, David Pitt, Harold Horwood, Gordon Pinsent, Ray Guy, Michael Cook, and Kevin Major. The book's value lies not in what it tells the students about these well-known people, but rather in introducing them to such as Vincent Butler, who chronicled his seventy years of outport life until he was forced to move because of the resettlement program; Herbert Lench Pottle, an educator who received numerous prestigious awards; Grace Butt, poet and dramatist; and Elizabeth Goudie, whose honest autobiography Woman of Labrador Irwin, (1973), has put into perspective the good and bad times of one who survived the obstacles of a totally undeveloped land, from the turn of the century through its transition to a modern habitat.

Writers of Newfoundland and Labrador will help in filling a need for regional literature in a senior secondary Canadian literature course, with the brief synopses, commentaries, and selected bibliographies providing stimuli for further research. The chronological and alphabetical tables of contents and the index of authors, personages, and titles of works will further add to its usefulness. The stitched and glued binding appears sturdy; however the lightweight paper cover indicates that rebinding is in order for library use.

Lillian M. Turner, York Memorial C.I., Toronto, Ont.
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