Canadian novelist and short‐story writer, born in the prairie town of Neepawa, Manitoba (inspiration for the fictional ‘Manawaka’). In 1947 she married John Laurence, a civil engineer, whose work later took them to live in Africa for five years. Her time there inspired her first novel, This Side Jordan (1960), among other works. In 1962 she moved to England with her two children after separating from her husband and began the series of four books based on her home town, renamed Manawaka, for which she is now best known: The Stone Angel (1964); A Jest of God (1966, retitled Now I Lay Me Down for British publication); The Fire‐Dwellers (1969); and The Diviners (1974). A Bird in the House (1970), a collection of linked short stories, is also part of the Manawaka sequence. She returned to Canada in 1974. A draft of her memoirs, Dance on the Earth, edited by her daughter, was published in 1989.