Canadian Authors You Need to Read in Your Lifetime
Looking for some great authors to read? Here are some of the best Canadian authors according to Goodreads – which are you reading first?
“Ignoring isn’t the same as ignorance, you have to work at it.” — The Handmaid’s Tale
We’ll bet you didn’t even know Atwood was Canadian! From dark humour The Blind Assassin (2009) to her newest release this year The Testaments: A Novel, Atwood has a loyal international fanbase hanging on her every word. The Testaments is actually the long-awaited sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale, a book so beloved it’s been adapted for TV.
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Lucy Maud Montgomery
“It’s been my experience that you can nearly always enjoy things if you make up your mind firmly that you will.” — Anne Of Green Gables
Another beloved Canadian author read around the world? Lucy Maud Montgomery. You’ll most likely know Anne Of Green Gables, though there are plenty of other titles from Montgomery to discover as well. The Way To Slumbertown (1916) is a bedtime poem guaranteed to make you sleepy, and Rainbow Valley (1919) — part of the Gables series — will remind you why you fell in love with the original.
“It is true that those we meet can change us, sometimes so profoundly that we are not the same afterwards, even unto our names.” — Life of Pi
Martel is an international bestseller who is most famous for his 2003 book Life of Pi — which was also adapted for film. Self (2013) is a beautiful fictional autobiography about a writer, and The High Mountains of Portugal (2016) an incredible tale of a Canadian senator building a new life in Portugal.
“Scared is what you’re feeling. Brave is what you’re doing.” — Room
Donoghue is an Irish-Canadian playwright, literary historian, and novelist, whose book Room (2010) was a finalist for the Man Booker Prize. Slammerkin (2000), is the enthralling story of working-class London in the 1700s that will keep you turning the pages for what comes next, and in 2016 Donoghue released The Wonder, a psychological thriller set in Ireland in the 1850s, that will also have you on the edge of your seat.
“The creak of bed springs suffering under the weight of a restless man is as lonely a sound as I know.” — The Sisters Brothers
It’s true deWitt currently lives in Oregon, but he heralds from Vancouver Island, so deserves to be on our list! DeWitt is most famous for the historical novel The Sisters Brothers (2011), which was adapted into a film in 2018. Ablutions (2009) was deWitt’s first novel, about a bartender hatching an escape. And you might want to give French Exit (2018) a try; this is the hilarious tale of a widower and her son who flee to Paris amid a scandal.
Emily St. John Mandel
“Hell is the absence of the people you long for.” — Station Eleven
Mandel started out her life studying to be a contemporary dancer, but her army of fans are truly grateful for her choice of career change! Mandel might be most famous for Station Eleven (2014), a gripping tale set after a fictional flu epidemic has killed most of the world’s population. We would also recommend Last Night In Montreal (2009), whose deceptive protagonist Lilia Albert will both delight and infuriate you, and The Singer’s Gun (2009) is a must read if you like a good crime suspense novel.
“When two people are meant to be together, they will be together. It’s fate.” — Water For Elephants
Gruen is from Vancouver, and is most famous for Water For Elephants (2006), a beautiful tale about the life of a circus, which was adapted for film in 2011. Riding Lessons (2002) is a heartbreaking story of a world-class equestrienne whose life is forever altered by a horrific accident. At The Water’s Edge (2015) is a love story set in a tiny Scottish village at the end of the Second World War. This book also received the Hollywood treatment, so if you’re short on time give it a watch instead.
We’ve barely scraped the surface of Canadians whose work will leave you enraptured and too distracted to do anything else. We do not apologise at all – happy reading!