Garvie, Maureen 1944-(Maureen McCallum Garvie)

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Garvie, Maureen 1944-(Maureen McCallum Garvie)


Born June 19, 1944, in Kingston, Ontario, Canada; daughter of Donald H. (a musician and painter) and Martha A. (a gardener) McCallum; married June 23, 1971; children: Leila K. Garvie. Ethnicity: "Scots-Irish." Education: University of Western Australia, B.A., 1965; University of Toronto, B.Ed., 1969; Queen's University, M.A. (with honors), 1971. Hobbies and other interests: Book reviewing, literary journalism.


Office—Queen's Writing Centre, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario K7L 3N6, Canada. E-mail— [email protected]


Writer. Christchurch, New Zealand, teacher, 1971-83; Kingston Whig-Standard, Kingston, Ontario, Canada, journalist and editor, 1983-2004; McGill-Queen's University Press, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, editor, beginning 1993; Queen's Writing Centre, Kingston, writing instructor, beginning 1994, acting director, 2001-02.

Awards, Honors

Canada Council explorations grant, 1989.


Adjust Your Set: Television as a Means of Communication, Macmillan (New Zealand), 1981.

The Real Passage to India, Coach House Press (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1987.

Looking on the Good Side: Profile of Grace Paley, Coach House Press (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1987.

Setting the Mark: A History of the Kingston Yacht Club, 1896-1996, Kingston Yacht Club, 1996.

(With Jennifer L. Johnson; as Maureen McCallum Garvie) Their Leaven of Influence: Deans of Women at Queen's University, 1916-1996, Queen's University Alumni Association Committee on Women's Affairs (Kingston, Ontario, Canada), 1999.

(With Mary Beaty) George Johnson's War, Groundwood (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2002.

Lake Rules, Key Porter Books (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2003.

Contributor of short fiction to periodicals, including Whig-Standard Magazine, Landfall (New Zealand), and Thursday, and to anthologies Quiet Voices, edited by Roger Bainbridge, Quarry Press, 1989; and Vital Signs, edited by Diane Schoemperlen, Oberon, 1997. Contributor of articles, columns, and reviews to periodicals, including Quill & Quire, Toronto Globe & Mail, Books in Canada, and Queen's Quarterly.


In addition to working as a full-time editor and writing instructor at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, Canadian fiction writer Maureen Garvie is the author of the historical novel George Johnson's War and the teen novel Lake Rules. Focusing on a thirteen-year-old girl who works to protect the remains of a Native-American settlement from being destroyed by land developers, Lake Rules was praised by Quill & Quire contributor Jeffrey Canton as "part archeological adventure story and part mystery, but … also a moving exploration of family dynamics and the nature of friendships."

Co-authored with friend Mary Beaty, George Johnson's War recounts the life and coming of age of George Johnson, one of eight children born to Molly Brant and Sir William Johnson. George's mother is stepdaughter to a Mohawk chieftain while his father, a British subject, represents England's King George III as superintendent of the Northern Department of Indian Affairs for North America. As the novel opens, George is six years old, living with his parents and his siblings, and enjoying a carefree life. When Sir William dies and the American Revolution breaks out, pitting neighbor against neighbor, the Royalist Johnson family is forced to flee westward for safety. Molly Brant decides to send George and his sister north to attend school in Montreal. Wanting to play his part in history, George runs away and becomes an Indian scout for the British. By the time the war is over, the United States has formed and George has reached manhood. Molly Brant, has also fulfilled her role as leader of her people and has helped relocate her Mohawk tribe to what is now Branford, Ontario.

Reviewing George Johnson's War, Resource Links contributor Brenda Dillon wrote that, "although Garvie and Beaty make clear that [their book] … is a novel, they've obviously done a lot of research and have worked to create an accurate reflection of the period of the American Revolution.... All in all, this novel should prove a valuable addition to those works of historical fiction, which can help bring history alive for young readers."

Garvie told SATA: "I was born in Kingston, Ontario, and grew up living beside the St. Lawrence River. As a kid I swam on the wrecks of ships from the War of 1812. When I was older I worked in the summers at the reconstructed British Fort Henry. Along the way I developed a taste for history.

"Finally finishing my education with master's, teaching, and library degrees, I moved to Christchurch, New Zealand, with my husband. For twelve years I worked on farms and in libraries, taught English and drama, lived near the mountains, and generally had a great life. I'd like to go back to live there, but it's a long way from Canada.

"In 1983 I returned to Kingston, Ontario, and for over ten years worked as a writer and editor for the Kingston Whig-Standard daily newspaper. I now teach writing at Queen's University in Kingston. In 2002 I co-authored an historical novel for young readers, George Johnson's War, with my friend Mary Beaty, and in 2005 my young-adult novel Lake Rules was released. Currently I am working on a novel based on the diary and taxidermy journals of a boy living in Toronto in the 1930s. I have one daughter, Leila, born in New Zealand and a graduate in biology from Guelph University.

"In Kingston, Ontario's oldest city, people walk daily over the bones of history. From native settlement to French fort to Loyalist encampment, it is rich with ghosts. I live in a nineteenth-century village overlooking the bay where sunken sailing ships lie under the water. Loyalist pottery fragments and clay pipe stems are raked out of the newly turned flowerbeds each spring.

"Across the river in old St. Paul's churchyard, the Mohawk leader Molly Brant is buried. A plaque reads, ‘The burying place of the children and grandchildren of Sir William Johnson,’ but no one has yet found the exact location of Molly Brant's grave. I was intrigued by how little seemed to be known about these people, and so was my friend Mary Beaty, children's librarian at the Kingston Public Library. We began to collect sightings of Molly Brant throughout her life, from an early account of her as a young beauty at a Philadelphia conference to a traveler's glimpse of her as an old woman praying in church. We discovered the Mohawk Valley and visited Loyalist landmarks there, trying to understand her and her partner, Sir William Johnson, a great figure of his day, and their eight children and extended family. Driving around Ontario's back roads, past abandoned Loyalist land grants, we worked out a story from the point of view of Molly's second son, George Johnson.

"The Johnson/Brant dynasty has left their names on streets and towns all over Ontario, but George's trail is faint. We tried to separate historical rumor and romanticism from fact to reconstruct the experiences of a young boy, uprooted and wandering, whose family and whose life were turned upside down by the American Revolution. Where history failed us, we filled in the blanks with imaginings of how it must have been. We pictured him as an ordinary, good-natured boy overshadowed by his pretty, noisy sisters and his brilliant brother, Peter, a nation hero by age eighteen. Very little is known about George, or likely to be, so we were freer to fill in the blank.

"After George Johnson's War was finished, Mary moved to New York City, and I dug around for another project. I dimly remembered starting a book way back in high school when I should have been paying attention in class. My friend Johanne Greenhow and I passed a pink notebook with the story in it back and forth like a long note. After a while Johanne got bored, but I kept rewriting it over the years, once in university and at least twice in the years in New Zealand.

"I managed to unearth the yellowed pages of the last draft and found I still liked the characters. I had called the book Return of the Iroquois, but after discovering it was not Iroquois but Algonquin peoples who lived in the cottage country where my story was set, I changed the title to Lake Rules. I found the world had changed a lot for children over the thirty or forty years it took me to finish the book. But even after I updated the manuscript to include life preservers, sun block, video games, parental supervision and cell phones, my characters were still able to have an adventure!"

Biographical and Critical Sources


Canadian Book Review Annual, 2002, review of George Johnson's War, p. 491.

Canadian Review of Materials, November 1, 2002, review of George Johnson's War.

Kingston Whig-Standard (Kingston, Ontario, Canada), July 23, 2005, Greg Burliuk, review of Lake Rules and interview with Garvie.

Quill & Quire, August, 2003, Jeffrey Canton, review of Lake Rules.

Resource Links, October, 2002, Brenda Dillon, review of George Johnson's War, p. 34; February, 2006, Gail de Vos, review of Lake Rules, p. 44.


Groundwood Books Web site, (December 26, 2006), "Maureen Garvie."

Queen's University Web site, (December 26, 2006), "Maureen Garvie."