Margaret Buffie life and biography

Margaret Buffie picture, image, poster

Margaret Buffie biography

Date of birth : 1945-03-29
Date of death : -
Birthplace : Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Nationality : Canadian
Category : Arts and Entertainment
Last modified : 2010-07-28
Credited as : Artist, writer,

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Margaret Buffie, born March 29, 1945 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada is a Canadian writer.

Margaret Buffie once commented: "I was born, raised, and continue to live in Winnipeg, Manitoba, a city full of the history of the Canadian fur trade and, later, the gateway to the settlement of western Canada. I love the Manitoba prairies to the south and the lakes and tundra to the north. East of Winnipeg, just over the border of Ontario, is a small lake called Long Pine. In 1919, my grandfather built a log cabin there as a summer home for his family. My mother and father built another log house on their own property across the bay in 1943. My sisters and I have, in turn, built cottages all around this log cabin and on any given summer day you will find someone sunning on the docks or picking blueberries on the pine-covered, rocky hills that surround Long Pine. That wonderful place has wound its spell around three generations of my family and is now onto its fourth.

"As a very young child, I loved the long summers spent at my grandpa's log cabin. But I had a secret I kept from everyone else. You see, I knew that the big, swaybacked log cabin breathed quietly--watching and waiting and listening. Oh, its beds were comfortable and the smell of varnished logs and woodsmoke hung in the air, but I knew that for the cabin, there was another world beyond my family's--a world that went on when we weren't there, or perhaps even while we slept--a world that belonged to the shadowy places in the deep woods surrounding us.

"Even the inside of the cabin made of spruce logs seemed to belong to that other world. High above were the rafters spun with cobwebs, and down below were the hidden entrances for nocturnal mice to slide through and raid the kitchen. I never could find their private doors into the night.

"It was those secret places that I wanted to capture in Who Is Frances Rain?. When Lizzie McGill digs through an old cabin site and discovers a pair of spectacles, she puts them on and finds herself looking at the flickering shadows of a time past--a time that the cabin remembers and shares with her in order that she can help a restless spirit find peace on the other side.

"My second novel, The Guardian Circle, takes place in an old house in Winnipeg. The central character, fifteen-year-old Rachel MacCaw, abandoned by her parents, arrives at 135 Cambric Street one drizzly fall day. She describes the place as a crumbling pile of bricks the color of raw beef liver, set in a yard of tangled yellowing weeds and wild hedges. Leafless vines like licorice whips crawl all over the outside, and Rachel decides that they are probably the only things holding the building together. When Rachel enters 135 Cambric, she is acted upon by the magic within it. How she deals with the old people in the house and how she deals with the ghostly magic make up the story in The Warnings.

"I knew when I sat down with my notebooks and pencils to begin a first draft that I would have to draw on what poet Archibald MacLeish called 'the brain's ghostly house'--to walk through its darkened rooms, perhaps hear a door slam behind me or the creak of a secret stair tread. Slowly, I began to create a world that Rachel and other characters such as Luther Dubbles and Gladys Snodgrass and Dunstan Gregor could live in. A world that was made up of bright sunshine one minute and darkened hallways the next. A world of reality, but a world, also, where magic could happen at the flick of a cat's shadow." In a review for Canadian Children's Literature, Margery Stewart lauded Rachel's "believable" character and noted that "despite the spooky nature of the subject, Buffie's book sparkles, stitched together as it is with deft touches of humour, catching the reader with unexpected jolts and dollops of surprise and delight."

Buffie's My Mother's Ghost takes place in Willow Creek, Alberta. Following the tragic death of her younger brother Scotty, sixteen-year-old Jessica Locke moves from Winnipeg, with her mother and father, to a dude ranch. Jessica's father is going on about his life as if nothing had happened, in a state of denial. Jessica is working very hard on the ranch, trying to put her life back in order, and her mother, who has become very withdrawn and depressed, begins to think that she sees Scotty's ghost. Jessica finds the journal of Ian Shaw, a little boy who died on the ranch long ago, and suspects the ghost that her mother sees is actually the ghost of Ian. The story of the Locke family is juxtaposed with the story of Ian Shaw and his family. The two stories intersect as both families are faced with collapse as the result of the death of a family member. In the end, the Shaw family is able to rest in peace, while Jessica's family is able to move on. The book received a favorable response from several critics. Voice of Youth Advocates contributor Sister Mary Veronica described the book as "a real sit-on-the-end-of-your-seat page turner" and Julia Rhodes noted in Quill and Quire: "It's refreshing to read YA fiction that respects the intelligence and maturity of its readers. (Buffie) proves once again that the realities of modern life need not come at the expense of an engrossing narrative."

Buffie serves up more mystery and magic in Angels Turn Their Backs, another tale of a teen girl encountering the paranormal. Teresa Toten commented in Quill and Quire that "the story is peopled with likeably flawed major and minor characters," and concluded that "the chills are warmer than a horror story in this tale, which is first and foremost a good story."

In The Watcher, Buffie creates a story in which Emma, an ordinary teenage girl, becomes engulfed in a fantasy world. In a review in the National Post, Elizabeth MacCallum noted, "In some ways, The Watcher feels like Lewis Carroll with the Queen of Hearts in Full Control." She also noted, "From a world centered on humans in the opening chapter, Buffie skillfully navigates step by step from the solid ground of a world governed by gravity and expected behavior and understanding, to an existence where Emma can't separate dreams from reality. Taking her fantasy from Norse and Anglo-Saxon mythology, Buffie adroitly conjures up this confusing world, going back and forth from worldly adventure and fright to supernatural powers."

In summing up Buffie's work, Quill and Quire contributor Peter Carver commented: "The ghostly world of Buffie's novels is not necessarily threatening but rather a manifestation of the strong personalities of those who have gone before--hardly surprising in a writer who has such a strong sense of where she comes from."

PERSONAL INFORMATION

Born March 29, 1945, in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada; daughter of Ernest William John (a lithographer) and Evelyn Elizabeth (Leach) Buffie; married James Macfarlane (an artist), August 9, 1968; children: Christine Anne. Education: University of Manitoba, received degree, 1967, certificate in education, 1976. Memberships: Canadian Authors Association, Canadian Society of Children's Authors, Illustrators, and Performers, International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY). Addresses: Agent--c/o Kids Can Press Ltd., 29 Birch Ave., Toronto, Ontario, Canada M4V 1E2.

CAREER

Hudson's Bay Co., Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, illustrator, 1968-70; Winnipeg Art Gallery, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, painting instructor, 1974-75; River East School Division, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, high school art teacher, 1976-77; freelance illustrator and painter, 1977-84; writer, 1984--. Writing instructor, University of Winnipeg, 1992-97.

WORKS
* Writings


* Who Is Frances Rain?, Kids Can Press (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1987, published as The Haunting of Frances Rain, Scholastic Inc. (New York, NY), 1989.
* The Guardian Circle, Kids Can Press (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1989, published as The Warnings, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1991.
* My Mother's Ghost, Kids Can Press (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1992, published as Someone Else's Ghost, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1995.
* The Dark Garden, Kids Can Press (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1995.
* Angels Turn Their Backs, Kids Can Press (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1998.
* The Watcher, Kids Can Press (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2000.

* Adaptations

* My Mother's Ghost was adapted as a film by Credo Entertainment and Buffalo Gals Pictures in 1996.

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