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Stegner, Wallace (1909-93)

Most people assume that the American novelist and historian Wallace Earle Stegner was born in Saskatchewan, because of its significance in his book Wolf Willow, “a history, a story, and a memory of the last plains frontier,” published in the United States in 1962. It is a collection of short stories, reminiscences, and historical accounts about the Cypress Hills region around Eastend (called Whitemud in the book). Stegner’s parents homesteaded there during the period 1914 to 1920, and his childhood experiences clearly had a great impact on his life. Wolf Willow became one of his most popular books, and a standard reference text for history of the region. Stegner was actually born in Lake Mills, Iowa on February 18, 1909, and after studying at the University of Utah became a professor of English at Stanford University in 1945. He published over a dozen works of fiction, history, and criticism, mostly set in the American West. Award-winning novels included The Big Rock Candy Mountain, Fire and Ice, and On a Darkling Plain. His novel Angle of Repose won the Pulitzer Prize in 1971. In 1973 he was awarded an honorary degree by the University of Regina for his contribution to literature. Wallace Stegner died on April 13, 1993.

Ken Mitchell

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