Dreams

Family and marriage

In 1968, Urquhart married Paul Keele who was then a student at the The Ontario College of Art, and later at the Nova Scotia College of Art and design.Urquhart worked as an assistant to the information officer for the Royal Canadian Navy while Keele was still in school. Tragically, Keele died in a car accident in 1973 when Urquhart was only twenty-four.[9] Keele’s death spurred Urquhart to return to school: "I wanted to study art history, partly to honour him and partly to be near a number of friends we had made while we lived in and around Guelph." [10] The experience of loss at such a young age shaped Urquhart's writing, particularly Whirlpool, whose protagonist was similarly a young widow. "I think the fact that Paul died when he did, when we were both so young, allowed me to remember what it was like to experience such a devastating loss early in life, as my characters do in this book," she explains.[11]

In 1976, Urquhart married the Canadian visual artist Tony Urquhart. At the time, Tony Urquhart had four children from a previous marriage, so the couple’s early years together were filled with children and family life.[12] Jane Urquhart speaks of the time: "It was great...we were all sort of the same age...I'd had no experience with children so I had no experience with disciplining children which meant that I didn't know how to do it. I was the youngest in my family. And so my role in relation to them was never very clearly defined and, as a result, we were just able to develop kind of a friendship." [13] The necessity of being at home, especially when her own daughter Emily was born in 1977, contributed to her writing, and she allowed herself to schedule writing time every day.

Urquhart also owned an Irish-style cottage in McGillicuddy Reeks from 1996 to 2013 which she used as a writing retreat and an occasional home. The cottage, on the verge of Lake Ontario, was the place she spent many summer vacations while growing up.[14] Urquhart now resides in South-Eastern Ontario with her husband Tony Urquhart.


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