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Louis Arthur Cunningham was born in Saint John, NB on 28 September 1900, the son of William J. Cunningham and Sarah (McGrath) Cunningham. He earned a BA (1922) and MA (1923) from St. Joseph's University, then completed a one-year Knights of Columbus fellowship at the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC (1923 - 1924), teaching English, French, and Latin.
In 1925, Cunningham returned to Saint John to become a full-time writer. He published his first story that same year, and by 1927 had published his first novel, Yvon Tremblay. On 10 July 1929 Cunningham married Hortense Marie Mooney of Saint John.
In a 30-year period, Cunningham wrote more than 30 novels, and more than 500 short stories, and non-fiction feature articles which were published around the world. Fascinated by the geography and history of the Maritime provinces, he set much of his fiction in the Maritimes, and wrote many non-fiction articles about regional topics such as the history of Saint John shipbuilding and the men and women whose livelihoods depended on the sea. On a few occasions, Cunningham submitted stories for publication under the pseudonyms "Merlyn Miller" and "Merlyn Swift."
Louis Arthur Cunningham died of a heart attack at his Hammond River home on 13 June 1954.