Lucy Maud Montgomery: Scholars and fans gather to celebrate Anne of Green Gables' creator

Anne of Green Gables is never truly out of the spotlight on Prince Edward Island, however it’s been four years since scholars and fans gathered to study her creator.

More than 100 people, representing 18 counties, are attending the 15th Biennial Lucy Maud Montgomery Conference.

The attendees are united by their love of Anne Shirley, the Anne of Green Gables series, and author Lucy Maud Montgomery.

Some, like Irina Levchenko, have come from as far away as Vienna, Austria, a testament to the broad appeal of Anne.

“It was really like reading the book about me,” said Levchenko, who first read Anne of Green Gables when she was 20. “I think it’s like this for a lot of girls. They realize there’s something in them and that this book really explains the value of female experience, and gives girls a voice.”

It’s the first time the conference has been held since 2018. “Vision” was to be the theme for the 2020 conference, which was cancelled. So, this year’s theme became “re-vision.”

“It’s both the revision of writing the novels and the manuscripts and the letters,” said Emily Woster, a Lucy Maud Montgomery Scholar from Minnesota. “But it’s really, truly revision. Re-seeing her photography, her visual eye, her descriptions. Re-looking at how we see Montgomery.”

The tale of Anne Shirley has often been adapted, both an effect of and a reason for Montgomery’s broad appeal.

Anne of Green Gables has enjoyed an incredible popularity in Japan since the end of the Second World War. The Canadian classic has even been transformed into Japanese graphic novels.

“Adaptation is sort of a starting point to become a big fan of Anne of Green Gables,” said Yukari Yoshihara, and expert in adaptation. ”We are continuing this sort of tradition of adapting, in manga format.”

Translated into dozens of languages, Anne of Green Gables has been reimagined for stage and screen just as often.

“Montgomery keeps being reinvented over and over,” said Alan MacEachern, event co-chair. “Every time you think that it’s dying down a little bit, the Montgomery fascination blows up in a different way.”

Even after more than 100 years, Lucy Maud Montgomery remains the most influential Islander to ever put pen to paper.