Gabrielle Roy was born on March 22, 1909 in St. Boniface, Manitoba, Canada. She attended the Winnipeg Normal Institute, where she earned top honors in both her English and French classes. After she completed her schooling, she spent a month teaching in the summer before accepting a job at a school for a year. In 1930, after that first year of teaching, she was offered a permanent position in St. Boniface. Roy decided that she wanted to go to Europe for a year with the meagre savings she had managed to accumulate throughout her seven years teaching in St. Boniface. When asked, she would tell people that she was going to France and England to study Drama. She had been a member of a drama troupe, Le Cercle Molire, throughout her teaching years. Once there, she took a teaching post in the summer of 1937 to gain enough to survive in Europe. She had planned to only stay a year, but that turned into two, and would have been longer if not for the outbreak of World War II. It was here that Roy began to write, and published a few articles in a French journal. Roy returned to Canada and made her home in Montreal where for six years she earned a living as a freelance reporter. Her first novel, Bonheur d'Occasion started out as a newspaper article and turned into a novel over 800 pages long. It was published in 1945. In 1947, she won the Prix Fmina from France for Bonheur d'Occasion, and the Governor General's award for the English translation, The Tin Flute. She returned to France, to the place that had originally inspired her writing and in 1950 published La Petite Poule d'Eau (Where Nests the Water Hen), after her return to Canada. 1957 also brought Roy her second Governor General's award, this time for the English translation of Rue Deschambault (Street of Riches), a novel she published in 1955. For the next several years, Roy received many awards as well as critical success, but it was not until 1978 that she won her third and final Governor General's award for Ces Enfants de Ma Vie (Children of My Heart). This was her final novel, although a compilation of some of her work as a journalist, and several children's books followed this last book. Roy's autobiography La Dtresse et l'Enchantement (Enchantment and Sorrow) was not published until 1984, a year after her death. Gabrielle Roy died on July 13, 1983 of heart failure.
Graham Greene (19041991) began to attract notice as a novelist in 1932 with his fourth book, Orient Express. He converted to Catholicism in 1926, a transformation that influenced several Catholic novels, including Brighton Rock, The Heart of the Matter, and The End of the Affair. During World War II he worked for the British secret service in Sierra Leone; afterward he began wide-ranging travels as a journalist, reflected in such novels as The Quiet Americanand Travels with My Aunt. As well as his many novels, Greene wrote several collections of short stories, four travel books, six plays, two books of autobiography, two biographies, and four books for children.