Tag Archives: Canadian literature

The English department reads!

What a silly thing to say–the English department reads. Of course we read; it’s what we do for a living.

In the title of this post I was riffing off the popular CBC radio contest “Canada Reads” where Canadian celebrities (that seems like such an oxymoron) suggest a book that they think all Canadians should read and then argue for their pick over a series of weeks. Each week sees one book–Survivor-like–get voted off the table. The books on Canada Reads don’t have to be Canadian, but they often are.

 Recently a reader requested that I post a list of great Canadian books. Thank you for the suggestion! So I polled my colleagues and here is what we came up with collectively. In no particular order and a nice mix of genres, including novels, plays, poetry, and life writing, and sometimes works that blend genres:

Alice Munro, Lives of Girls and Women
Margaret Atwood, Cat’s Eye & The Handmaid’s Tale
Margaret Laurence, The Diviners
Mordecai Richler, Solomon Gursky Was Here & Barney’s Version
Joy Kogawa, Obasan
Douglas Coupland, Generation X
Austin Clarke, A Bigger Light
Michael Ondaatje, In the Skin of a Lion & Running in the Family
Guy Vanderhaeghe, The Englishman’s Boy
Lawrence Hill, The Book of Negroes
Wayne Johnston, The Colony of Unrequited Dreams
George Elliott Clarke, Whylah Falls & Trudeau
Daphne Marlatt, Steveston
Fred Wah, Diamond Grill
James Reaney, The Donnelly Trilogy
Judith Thompson, Lion in the Streets
Stan Rogers, Songs From Fogarty’s Cove