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ECW Press Spring 2022 Trade

  • Sales Rights

    For sale with exclusive rights in: WORLD
  • Supply Detail

    Distributor: Jaguar Book Group Availability: Not yet available Expected Ship Date: May 03, 2022 On Sale Date: May 24, 2022 Carton Quantity: 1 $36.95 CAD
  • Supply Detail

    Distributor: BTPS Availability: Not yet available Expected Ship Date: May 03, 2022 On Sale Date: May 24, 2022 Carton Quantity: 1 $29.95 USD
  • Catalogues

Woman, Watching
Louise de Kiriline Lawrence and the Songbirds of Pimisi Bay
By (author): Merilyn Simonds


ECW Press - Toronto



Product Form:


Form detail:

Dust jacket
Hardcover , Dust jacket


General Trade
May 24, 2022
$36.95 CAD


8.5in x 5.5 in

Page Count:

400 pages
ECW Press
BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / Environmentalists & Naturalists
Biography: science, technology and medicine|History of the Americas|Wildlife: birds and birdwatching: general interest
  • Short Description
A woman of the Swedish aristocracy loses her young husband in the Russian revolution and finds her way to northern Ontario to work as a nurse for the Dionne Quintuplets before discovering a deep love of the birds that live on her handful of acres. She creates longitudinal behavior and population studies that are still used by Ornithologists today.

From award-winning author Merilyn Simonds, a remarkable biography of an extraordinary woman — a Swedish aristocrat who survived the Russian Revolution to become an internationally renowned naturalist, one of the first to track the mid-century decline of songbirds.

Referred to as a Canadian Rachel Carson, Louise de Kiriline Lawrence lived and worked in an isolated log cabin near North Bay. After her husband was murdered by Bolsheviks, she refused her Swedish privilege and joined the Canadian Red Cross, visiting her northern Ontario patients by dogsled. When Elzire Dionne gave birth to five babies, Louise became nurse to the Dionne Quintuplets. Repulsed by the media circus, she retreated to her wilderness cabin, where she devoted herself to studying the birds that nested in her forest. Author of six books and scores of magazine stories, de Kiriline Lawrence and her “loghouse nest” became a Mecca for international ornithologists.

Lawrence was an old woman when Merilyn Simonds moved into the woods not far away. Their paths crossed, sparking Simonds’s lifelong interest. A dedicated birder, Simonds brings her own songbird experiences from Canadian nesting grounds and Mexican wintering grounds to this deeply researched, engaging portrait of a uniquely fascinating woman.

Sales and Market Bullets

  • A unique approach to a biography of an important Canadian naturalist, the biography is just as much about Lawrence’s birds as it is about Lawrence, and is timely for the rise in popularity of birding as a pastime. Lawrence is a well-loved figure in the birding world and an extraordinary contributor to scientific knowledge, a woman who deserves wider recognition.

  • Merilyn Simonds spent a decade researching Louise de Kiriline Lawrence’s life, and is a passionate birder herself.

  • At a time when the scientific establishment was obsessed with exotic birds, Lawrence focused on the birds that bred in her forest, and completed a famous seven-year study of woodpeckers. Ornithologists continue to use Lawrence’s studies as a baseline.

  • For readers of Shelley Emling’s The Fossil Hunter: Dinosaurs, Evolution, and the Woman Whose Discoveries Changed the World, and Charlotte Gray’s Sisters in the Wilderness: The Lives of Susanna Moodie and Catherine Parr Traill, and other books that bring remarkable women out of the shadows of history and gives them their proper due. For bird-loving readers of Jennifer Ackerman’s The Bird Way (or her previous book, The Genius of Birds).


  • Readers of The New Yorker and Maclean’s

  • Members of art and culture groups like the Heliconian Society and the Arts and Letters Club

  • Retirees who audit university classes for fun

  • People interested in quirky Canadian history and looking for dinner party conversation topics

  • People interested in birding and the history of women in science

  • Readers of Graeme Gibson’s Bedside Book of Birds, H is for Hawk, Birds Art Life, and Bird Runner

  • Readers of Sisters in the Wilderness: The Lives of Susanna Moodie and Catherine Parr Trail

Merilyn Simonds is the author of 18 books, including the non-fiction classic The Convict Lover, Gutenberg’s Fingerprint, and most recently, the novel Refuge. The founder and first artistic director of the Kingston WritersFest, Simonds is an influential champion of writers and writing. She lives with writer and translator Wayne Grady and divides her time between Kingston, Ontario, and San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.

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