Jane Urquhart was born June 21, 1949 in Little Longlac, a small mining town in northern Ontario, the daughter of a mining engineer, Walter Andrew Carter and Marian Quinn. Quinn grew up on a farm with a large family of six brothers and one sister. After their marriage, the couple moved to Little Longlac for Carter’s work. It was there that they had three children, Urquhart being the youngest and their only daughter. The family’s heritage made a lasting impact on Urquhart’s writing. Her mother’s Irish ancestors were immigrants who arrived in Canada in the mid nineteenth century during the potato famine. Both of Urquhart’s parents had witnessed the trials of World War One and World War Two. With such a background, Urquhart’s childhood was filled with the stories of Ireland and settlement in Canada. "The women are the people who pass the stories down through the generations in any family," Urquhart says. "Occasionally, one of the men would tell a story. When they did, it was a very exciting event, and it was often war-related. But the women were constantly gossiping. I've always been a great believer that gossip is not an evil thing. I see it as an investigation of human nature." 
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