2024 is L.M. Montgomery’s 150th birthday! The L.M. Montgomery Institute (LMMI) at the University of Prince Edward Island is celebrating with 150 tributes – celebratory statements or greetings – that reflect upon personal connections to Montgomery or on an aspect of her life, work, or legacy.


This week we are celebrating Emily of New Moon’s birthday on 19 May with stories from Joe Sutliff Sanders, Allison Hudson, Lindsey McMaster, and Vappu Kannas.


A love story from Joe Sutliff Sanders

Sanders Joe


Joe Sutliff Sanders is a specialist in children’s media in the Faculty of Education at the University of Cambridge, the author of several books, including Disciplining Girls: Understanding the Origins of the Classic Orphan Girl Story, and the co-editor of several more books, including L.M. Montgomery’s Emily of New Moon: A Children’s Classic at 100.


How Emily taught me to see beautiful things from Allison Hudson

At first, I skipped over the “purple prose,” the florid, ekphrastic nature descriptions for which Montgomery is so well known. Reading the Anne books while recovering from chicken pox at age twelve, I loved the stories, characters, and fascinating historical context, but it wasn’t until years later that I began to appreciate the descriptions. It was through Emily and her keen desire to transmute the world’s beauty into words (as well as through Anne, Pat, Jane, and the rest) that Montgomery helped me learn how to truly see. John Ruskin once wrote, “You are to recognize, or know, beautiful and noble things…and then you are to give the best possible account of them you can, either for the sake of others, or for the sake of your own forgetful or apathetic self, in the future” (The Eagle’s Nest, 1872), and I am so grateful to Montgomery for creating Emily and giving her “best possible account” of beautiful things.

Allison McBain Hudson is a lifelong Montgomery fan and a PhD student at Dublin City University, Ireland, studying material culture in the Emily novels.


A story of healing from Lindsey McMaster

If I had a time machine, my first visit would be to Montgomery as a teenager, to stop her from putting her childhood diary to flames – something she would later regret, as do I as a fan and researcher. I’m fascinated by the way Montgomery used her journals both for mental well-being and creative inspiration, which is why Emily of New Moon has a special hold over me – a novel written after Montgomery poured through her early diaries (the ones not consigned to flames) and formed a heroine whose diary nimbly pushes reality in the right direction, healing herself and the world around her. I wonder if we could all benefit from writing fictional alter egos based on our diaries, and I know I’ll keep returning to Montgomery’s pages when I wish to turn unhelpful realities into uplifting fiction, or at least into consoling journal entries.

Lindsey McMaster is a scholar of English Studies at Nipissing University in North Bay, Ontario. She teaches undergraduate courses on writing, creativity, and Canadian literature. Her next project is to offer student-centred workshops on writing for well-being.


How Emily inspires me as a writer from Vappu Kannas

Olen aina sanonut, että luin Pienen runotytön kun olin kahdeksanvuotias. Nykyään en enää edes tiedä, onko se totta. En muista aikaa, jolloin en olisi tuntenut Emiliaa.

Tuoreempi (ja luotettavampi) muisto on kesältä 2022: näin Runotytön alkuperäisen käsikirjoituksen, kun olin käymässä Prinssi Edwardin saarella. Olin yhtäkkiä hyvin kiitollinen, että tuo kirja oli olemassa ja että L. M. Montgomery oli kirjoittanut sen. Minkälainen maailma edes olisi ilman sitä? Kuka minä olisin?

Olen kirjailija, mutta voi olla, että en olisi ilman Pientä runotyttöä. Montgomery nimittäin loi kirjailijoita kirjojen lisäksi. Kuvittelen heidät versoamassa ympäri maailmaa, janoten kirjoittamista, kunnes saavat viestin kirjassa: "Kirjoita. Pystyt siihen kyllä. Niin minäkin tein. Ja Emilia."

En ole varma, tiesikö Montgomery, että kirjoittaminen voi muuttaa maailmaa, mutta se voi, ja muutti.


I always say that I first read Emily of New Moon when I was eight years old. By this point I don't even know if it's true. It's hard to remember a time when I didn't know Emily.

A more recent (and reliable) memory: in the summer of 2022 I saw the original manuscript of the novel on my visit to Prince Edward Island. I was suddenly very grateful that this book existed and that L.M. Montgomery had written it. What would the world be like without it? Who would I be?

I'm a writer, but I might not be one without Emily of New Moon. You see, Montgomery created writers as well as books. I imagine them sprouting around the world, aching to write, then getting a message in a book: "Write. You can do it. I did. So did Emily."

I'm not sure Montgomery knew that writing can change the world, but it can, and it did.

Kannas Vappu


Vappu Kannas is a Finnish writer and literary scholar.


The tributes from next week will celebrate Montgomery fostering activities associated with the May long weekend: opening up the cottage, getting back to nature, reading, and enjoying the companionship of friends and family.