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First published in 1947, In Due Season broke new ground with its fictional representation of women and of Indigenous people. Set during the dustbowl 1930s, this tersely narrated prize-winning novel follows Lina Ashley, a determined solo female homesteader who takes her family from drought-ridden southern Alberta to a new life in the Peace River region. Here her daughter Poppy grows up in a community characterised by harmonious interactions between the local Metis and newly arrived European settlers. Still, there is tension between mother and daughter when Poppy becomes involved with a Metis lover. This novel expands the patriarchal canon of Canadian prairie fiction by depicting the agency of a successful female settler and, as noted by Dorothy Livesay, was "one of the first, if not the first Canadian novel wherein the plight of the Native Indian and the Metis is honestly and painfully recorded". The afterword by Carole Gerson and Janice Dowson provides substantial information about author Christine van der Mark and situates her under-acknowledged book within the contexts of Canadian social, literary, and publishing history.
Christine van der Mark (19171970) was born and raised in Calgary. While teaching in rural Alberta schools, she attended the University of Alberta, receiving her B.A. in 1941 and her M.A. in Creative Writing in 1946. Much of her writing expressed sympathetic concern for the Metis of Northern Alberta. Born in Montreal, Carole Gerson is a professor in the English Department at Simon Fraser University. Her research on Canadian literary and publishing history and on early Canadian women writers has resulted in many publications, including two books on Pauline Johnson. She was a member of the editorial team for the major three-volume project History of the Book in Canada, for which she co-edited volume 3, covering the period 19181980. Janice Dowson teaches English literature and academic writing in the English Departments at Simon Fraser University and University of the Fraser Valley. She has been a practicing transactional analysis clinician at Touchstone Centre in Maple Ridge for over thirty years. An emphasis on preserving the humane in the humanities invigorates her clinical work, pedagogical practice, and scholarship.