The twelve previously unpublished essays which make up Crossing the River commemorate and celebrate the life and work of Margaret Laurence, Canada's most beloved author. When it was learned Margaret Laurence was suffering from a terminal illness, this book was conceived as a tribute by Manitoba writers and critics to be placed in her hands. After her death made that goal impossible, Crossing the River became an opportunity for the wider community of Canadian and European critics to honour the invaluable contribution Laurence has made to Canadian literature and society.
Crossing the River includes essays by Diana Brydon, Helen Buss, Keith Louise Kulton, Hans Hauge, Paul Hjartarson, Constance Rooke, Per Seyersted, Walter Swayze, Craig Tapping, Aritha van Herk, David Willliams, and Herbert Zirker.
"Margaret Laurence writes about...people largely ignored for lack of interest: old women; single women in middle age; people on the fringes of society who do not fully participate in the system. She pushes us to see their full value as human beings...Her most significant gift may be the reminder her work issues in all its force that we are fools to create outcasts. That we are misguided to think ourselves better than anyone else; that ambition, wealth, power, status are things that entirely miss the point. True value is somewhere else, and her journey is a slow discovery of where that 'somewhere else' is."
-- From the Editor's preface
Kristjana Gunnars was born in Reykjavik, Iceland in 1948. She immigrated to Canada in 1969, after doing undergraduate work in Oregon. She has lived in rural BC, Vancouver, Toronto, Winnipeg, and Regina, where she took an MA in literature. Gunnars worked as a schoolteacher in rural Iceland, and taught English at the University of Regina and at the University of Alberta. Her poems have appeared in various journals in Canada and the US.