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Last Updated on May 6, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 167

Margaret Craven 1901(?)–

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Canadian short story writer and novelist.

Craven's works stress the importance of understanding humanity's proper role in the world. I Heard the Owl Call My Name, her first novel, is in part a documentary of the life led by the Kwakiutl Indians of British Columbia with whom Craven spent several weeks. More importantly, the novel is a reworking of the perennial theme of self-discovery through others as experienced by a young Anglican vicar sent to minister to the Indians. Young people were especially attracted by the relevance of the book's theme to their own quests. It became a best-seller, and was dramatized for television in 1973. In general, critics praised her honest portrayal of the Indians' struggle to resist total assimilation into the dominant culture, and her radiant descriptions of the Pacific Northwest. Some thought the subject overly sentimental and the message too obvious.

Craven's second novel, Walk Gently This Good Earth, received little critical attention. She has recently published her autobiography, Again Calls the Owl.

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Jennifer Farley Smith

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