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Gwethalyn Graham (1913–1965)

Author of Earth and High Heaven

Includes the names: Gwethlyn Graham, Gwethalyn Grahm, gwethalyn brown, Graham Gwethalyn

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Gwethalyn Graham was born to a wealthy family in Toronto, Canada. Her sister Isabel LeBourdais also became a writer. Gwethalyn attended private school and a finishing school in Lausanne, Switzerland. She spent a year at Smith College in Massachusetts before dropping out in 1932 to marry John McNaught, with whom she had a son; they later divorced. In 1938, she published her first novel, Swiss Sonata, to critical acclaim -- it won the Governor General's Award for Fiction that year. It was followed by Earth and High Heaven (1944), another award-winning success that was the first Canadian book to reach number one on The New York Times bestseller list. In 1947, she remarried to David Yalden-Thomson, a philosophy professor, and moved to Virginia, where she taught at the University of Virginia. In 1958, she and her son returned to Canada, settling in Montréal, where she worked as a script writer for the Canadian Broadcasting Company. Her third novel was Dear Enemies (1963). She was an outspoken opponent of anti-Semitism and of anti-French Canadian discrimination. She died in 1965 at age 52. See also Gwethalyn Graham: A Liberated Woman in a Conventional Age by Barbara Meadowcroft (2008).
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