L.M. Montgomery’s ‘deep, rich’ life beyond Green Gables explored in new podcast

November 30, 2021
L.M. Montgomery's 'deep, rich' life beyond Green Gables explored in new podcast

A new podcast is looking beyond Lucy Maud Montgomery’s works of fiction to dig deeper into the life of the beloved Canadian author.

Maud: Books, Babes & Barbiturates is a six-part podcast focusing on Montgomery’s extensive journals and biography to shed some light on the woman who created Anne Shirley and other iconic characters.

Hosts Jen MacLennan and Stef Drummond, who read the books together as they were growing up in Owen Sound, Ont., say they wanted the podcast’s name to reflect Montgomery’s life outside her work.

“The ‘Babes’ part is the loves of her life, and then the ‘Barbiturates,’ because Maud had drug addiction issues and mental illness,” MacLennan said.

“While she had elements that were like Anne, she also was very much her own person who had a deep, rich life that was quite complicated and tragic at times.”

‘A modern woman’

Drummond said Montgomery’s journals reveal an enthralling psychological picture that may not be evident to those who have only read Anne of Green Gables.

“I loved all of the books, and then when I got older and I got into the journals I realized that she was such a modern woman and she was also such a prolific writer,” she said.

“She was really funny, and she’d be really catty … We can think of her novels as being a bit precious. But in the journals there’s a real woman there that I think Jenny and I both connected with.”

The podcast will explore topics such as Montgomery’s love life, her bitter legal dispute with her publisher and her mental health struggles.

It will also discuss how Montgomery’s own biography ended up being reflected on her greatest character, Anne.

First episode released this week

“Maud was essentially an orphan. Her mother died … when she was just 22 months old. Her father left her with her elderly grandparents and went out west,” Drummond said. “Writing from the [perspective of] a little girl without a mother or father, that’s what I would say is the core connection between Maud and Anne.”

“Anne was such an imaginative, quirky girl,” MacLennan said. “And I think at times Maud had that element, too, and people seeing her a little bit on the outside because she was so imaginative and she was artistic.”

The first episode of the podcast was released on Monday, ahead of Montgomery’s birthday. It is available on Spotify, iTunes and other podcasting platforms.

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