The Word Guild pays tribute to three Tarr Award winners who passed away in 2008, all of whom were single women and pioneering Canadian Christian writers who lived to a great age. Grace Irwin died in Toronto at age 101 on September 16, 2008, after a long, active and vibrant life. Grace's nephew, John Irwin, is on the board of Christian Info Canada, the umbrella organization that encompasses The Word Guild. Margaret Epp died in Saskatchewan at age 95 on September 7, 2008. Margaret Clarkson died in Toronto on March 17, 2008 at age 93; her memorial service was held in June. See more information in the Tarr Award section.Here is an excerpt from a blog post dedicated to her various novels.
Grace Irwin had a happy and fulfilling career as a High School English teacher. When she did start to write she gave us some very thoughtful novels. Two of them, written in the style of biographical fiction, were "Servant of Slaves", the life of John Newton, slave trader and hymn writer; and the life of Lord Shaftesbury in "The Seventh Earl". These were the fruit of months of research.This is a brief excerpt from her memorial service, by John Irwin, with reference to a project undertaken by the University of Toronto in 1968 to translate and publish the complete works of Erasmus.
Grace stood at the podium and announced that Erasmus had written long ago what she wished to say to those who now packed Convocation Hall. For several minutes she read, or rather recited from memory, with great expression, Erasmus's Latin preface to the New Testament.She was a classics scholar, author and minister of God's word. We have lost a great friend in Grace Irwin.
Image from April 2004 at OISE, Toronto, Grace's last public speaking engagement at a book launch for Full Circle, by Ruth Hayhoe.