This Week in History
Birthday of Writer Mazo de la Roche
This story was initially published in 2000
On January 15, 1879, Mazo de la Roche was born in Newmarket, Ontario. Little did her parents know that she would grow up to be a world-famous author, known best for her Jalna series.
Mazo's first novels, Possession (1923) and Delight (1926), sold well, but in 1927 she received worldwide recognition for her talent as a novelist. Jalna told the story of an Ontario family in the 1920s, the Whiteoaks, who lived on an estate named Jalna. For this, Mazo won both the Atlantic Monthly $10 000 award for the best novel of 1927 and international acclaim. Her success prompted her to continue the Jalna series, with prequels and sequels, altogether depicting 150 years of Whiteoak family history.
The series, comprising a total of 16 novels, was translated into a dozen languages. Plays based on Jalna were performed in London, New York, Dublin, Budapest and Toronto. In 1935, the series inspired a Hollywood movie and, in 1972, CBC-based a television series on this popular saga.
Mazo de la Roche was a successful Canadian writer whose work included novels, short stories, plays, a history of Quebec and an autobiography entitled Ringing the Changes. In 1976, Mazo de la Roche was designated a National Historic Person.
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