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Jane Urquhart was born in 1949 in Little Long Lac, Ontario, and received her education in Toronto and Guelph. A novelist and poet, her work has been published since 1982, and includes False Shuffles (1982), The Little Flowers of Madame de Montespan (1984), The Whirlpool (1986), Storm Glass (1987), Changing Heaven (1990), Away (1993) and The Underpainter (1997).
Jane Urquhart has been writer-in-residence at the University of Ottawa, at Memorial University, and most recently in 1997 at the University of Toronto. In 1997 she was awarded the Governor General's Award for Fiction for her novel The Underpainter. Prior to 1997 she had already been the recipient of several literary awards: Le Prix de Meilleure Livre Etrangere (Best Foreign Book Award), France, for The Whirlpool, 1992, The Trillium Book Award in 1993, and the Marian Engel Prize in 1994.
In 1997 Jane Urquhart received an honorary degree from the University of Waterloo.