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Merilyn Simonds

Louise de Kiriline Lawrence – an extraordinary recluse who changed the way we see birds

Merilyn started watching birds when she was seven, and she has been a writer for almost as long. Born on the Canadian Prairies, she grew up in Brazil and published her first book at 29. She is now the author of 20 books, published internationally. She writes in a wide variety of genres—literary fiction (such as the novel The Holding, a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice) and creative nonfiction, including the Canadian classic, The Convict Lover, as well as personal essay, memoir, and travel.

With her husband, author Wayne Grady, she lives in Kingston, Ontario, during spring and summer and in the mountains of central Mexico in the cooler months, enjoying birds in both their breeding and wintering grounds. She watches birds wherever she is and sits on the Board of Directors of the Pelee Island Bird Observatory in Ontario, Canada.

Her new work —Woman, Watching— is an innovative memoir/biography of Louise de Kiriline Lawrence, an extraordinary recluse who changed the way we see birds.

Margaret Atwood hailed the book as “Lyrical, passionate, and deeply researched.”

Kyo Maclear, author of Birds, Art, Life, wrote, “Woman, Watching is unlike anything I’ve ever read. It’s radical, it’s ravishing. Simply brilliant.”

And Ian Davidson, Director for the Americas of BirdLife International called it, “A must-read for anyone who wants to understand how the nature ethic is woven into the fabric of our nation.”

Louise Kiriline Lawrence – a remarkable ornithologist who is unknown to most of us.