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Ann-Marie MacDonald
(1958 - living) Canada

Ann-Marie MacDonald

Playwright, novelist, actor

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Ann-Marie was born at Baden-Baden (RCAF Station), West Germany, in a peripatetic air force family. She spent her summers in Cape Breton.

Ann-Marie's first grades were far from golden. She passed those early years - from Kindergarten to Grade 2 in Centralia, Ontario and Grade 3 in Hamilton - in a kind of fog. When her family moved next, this time to Kingston, she was eight. Her parents met with the principal at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School. They knew their daughter was bright, but the report card! Her parents insisted that something be done to help, so the principal suggested, "Let's put her ahead a year. Maybe she needs a challenge."

When her father explained it at the time, he presented it to her as special - a unique opportunity. And he told her that if it didn't work out she could always go back to Grade 4 - because that's where she'd be anyway. She was put in Grade 5. Perhaps more the class wit than clown. This galvanized her - like shock therapy. That was the turning point for Ann-Marie. Suddenly she had a basis for self-esteem.

They gave her opportunities to explore the subjects that would prove central to her creative career: history and literature. The MacDonald family moved again as she entered Grade 9, this time to Ottawa where she attended Colonel By Secondary School. In high school individual subjects provided her with an additional focus for relating to teachers. History and English were again her subjects.

Now Ann-Marie is a Toronto-based writer and actor. Her play Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet) won the Governor General's Award for Drama, the Chalmers Award for Outstanding Play and the Canadian Authors' Association Award for Drama. She won a Gemini Award for her role in the film Where the Spirit Lives and was nominated for a Genie for her role in I've Heard the Mermaids Singing.

Her first novel, Fall on Your Knees, took the Commonwealth Prize for Best First Fiction (among many other awards and recognitions). And her recently launched second novel, The Way the Crow Flies, was keeping MacDonald running to readings and authors' festivals, and was nominated for Canada's prestigious 2003 Giller Prize.

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