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My Ultimate List of Eight Favorite Must-Read Canadian Authors

Canada is good for so much more than just its snowfall

Canada is a great place to hibernate during the frigid winter months. Here in Canada, we canucks offer the best in freshly made maple syrup, plenty of winter hockey games to watch with a hot Timmie’s coffee, and a ten-pack of assorted Timbits. Or, try some of our popular mouth-watering poutine smothered in gravy and topped with some fresh cheese curds. Poutine is a famous Canadian meal found in many restaurants all over Canada. There is also plenty of white, fluffy snow covering the ground for all those outdoor enthusiasts who love to ski, snowboard, or toboggan down snow-covered hills.

But, best of all, Canada is also home to some of the greatest authors in the entire world. There’s nothing better than cuddling up on a cold winter’s day with a warm pair of fuzzy pajamas, a hot, steaming mug of Timmie’s coffee in hand, and a well-written book by a famous Canadian author, eh?

Canada has plenty of diverse authors to choose from. Whether your favorite genre is poetry, thriller, literature, historical fiction, romance, or even children’s books. There are plenty of exceptional Canadian authors to choose from.

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A Book With A Canadian Flag on it by a Favorite Canadian Author

My list of eight favorite Canadian authors

Here is a list of some of my favorite Canadian authors. I recommend it to anyone who is looking for something new to read over the winter months to help take the chill off. I also recommend choosing a nice cozy location to read your book. Whether it be by a nice warm fireplace. Or in front of an open window with bright lighting, overlooking a beautiful snow-covered scenic Canadian winter view.

Margaret Atwood

Margaret Eleanor Atwood was born November 18, 1939, in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. She is best known for her poetry, prose, and fiction writing. She is also known for her powerful stand as a feminist. Her strong views prevail in many of the novels that she has written. Margaret also excels at writing vivid creative nonfiction, memoirs, historical fiction, and dystopian fiction novels.

Margaret Atwood began studying at Victoria College and at the University of Toronto, Canada. She also earned her master’s degree in English Literature from Radcliffe College, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1962.

Her Accomplishments

Some of Margaret Atwood’s early poetry collections include Double Persephone, written in 1961, The Circle Game, written in 1964, and The Animals in That Country, written in 1968.

Atwood’s writings often ponder human behaviors, celebrate the simple natural wonders of the world, and often look down upon materialism. Reversed roles, new beginnings, and the end of the world as we know it are also common themes found in many of her novels.

An incredibly written novel by Margaret Atwood in 1985, is called The Handmaid’s Tale. It is a dystopian novel about women living in sexual slavery in a repressive Christian future.  It has taken power over the world in the aftermath of ecological upheaval. This is a must-read book for anyone who hasn’t dived into it yet. I guarantee it will have you up late turning the pages well into the night.

A television series called The Handmaid’s Tale also premiered in 2017. The series came out after the book’s success. It was co-written by Margaret Atwood.

Another outstanding novel written by Margaret Atwood is The Blind Assassin. It was published in 2000. This Booker Prize-winning book was based on a memoir of an elderly woman living in Canada. She writes about her sister’s suicide and the role she played in it.

More about Margaret Atwood

Although Margaret Atwood’s style of writing may have changed over the decades. One thing that hasn’t changed is that her work is still just as honest, brilliant, and extremely witty as it has always been. With a little more wisdom gained throughout the years.

I personally really enjoy Margaret Atwood’s poetry collections. Some of her books that grace my bookshelves include; Murder In the Dark, The Handmaid’s Tale, Good Bones, Morning In the Burned House, The Door, and her latest poetry collection, Dearly. If you haven’t already, give her books a try. I promise that you won’t regret experiencing one of the best authors that Canada has to offer.

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A photo of one of my favorite Canadian authors, Margaret Atwood, posing for Vanity Fair magazine.

Robert Munsch

Robert Munsch has always been another one of my favorite Canadian children’s authors. Although he was actually born on June 11, 1945, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He and his wife moved to Canada in search of work, where he eventually began publishing children’s books for Annick Press. Soon afterward, he became a Canadian citizen, where he remains today.

Although Munsch had always been a skilled storyteller, it wasn’t until after he felt confident that he could make everyone in the room laugh that he started writing his stories down on paper. As a student teacher in a nursery school, he often enjoyed telling his stories to the school children. Munch’s animated storytelling ability appealed to many of the children.

His classic book, Love You Forever, a picture book about the never-ending love between a boy and his mother, was my favorite book of choice to read to my oldest daughter when she was a child. She also loved the book so much that she made a speech about it in grade two at school.

My favorite Robert Munsch Books

Other favorite books of mine that were written by Robert Munsch include; Andrew’s Loose Tooth, Mortimer, A Promise is a Promise and Alligator Baby. So, if you’re looking for your next outstanding Canadian children’s book to read to your kids, don’t forget to check his books out, eh? You’ll absolutely love his work!

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A silly picture of Canadian author, Robert Munsch entertaining children as he reads his books to them

Charles De Lint

Charles De Lint was born December 22, 1951 in Bussum, Netherlands. He moved to Canada in 1983. This is where he still lives today. Charles is an exceptionally talented writer of Dutch, Japanese, Spanish, and, of course, English.

De Lint’s main genre as a writer is fantasy books. He has also written many novels in the urban fantasy, magical, and mythical fiction genres. In the 1980s, De Lint was popular in the sale of urban fantasy novels. Besides fantasy, he also writes fantastic poetry, short stories, horror, and lyrics. His poetry is online in the Endicott Studio Journal of Mythic Arts if you’re interested in checking his work out.

Books by Charles De Lint

Some of Charles De Lint’s most famous literary works include the following:

  • Dreams Underfoot
  • Widdershins
  • The Blue Girl, a young adult novel
  • The Onion Girl
  • Moonlight and Vines, winner of the 2000 world fantasy award
  • Someplace to be Flying
  • The Mystery of Grace
  • The Painted Boy
  • A Circle of Cats, a children’s book illustrated by Charles Vess
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A photo of Canadian author, Charles De Lint

L.M. Montgomery

If you are a true Canuck, then you absolutely must have heard of this talented writer while growing up. L.M Montgomery is the author of the book Anne of Green Gables. A truly Canadian must-read novel.

“Everyone’s favorite book about that redhead, spunky Anne Shirley. In this novel, she begins her adventures at Green Gables, a farm located outside of Avonlea, Prince Edward Island, Canada. The freckled, red-haired girl realizes that the elderly couple who adopted her wanted a boy instead. She tries extra hard to win their affections. Along with every reader who sets their eyes upon this book.”

Ann of Green Gables is a magnificent childhood, young adult classic novel. Anyone would definitely enjoy reading.

Quotes found in Ann of Green Gables

Famous quotes found in Ann of Green Gables include;

“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.”

“Kindred spirits are not as scarce as I used to think. It’s splendid to find out there are so many of them in the world.”

“True friends are always together in spirit.”

“Life is worth living as long as there’s a laugh in it.”

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A photo of L.M. Montgomery was found in the Paris Review.

Leonard Cohen

Leonard Cohen is next on my list of favorite Canadian authors. Born in Westmount, Quebec. He published his first book with Secker and Warburg in England in 1963. McClelland and Stewart published the book entitled “The Favorite Game” in Canada in 1970. It is a diverse book of poetry and prose. Rejected by Canadian publishers initially because of its harsh and sexual content. They did not publish it in Canada until they made extensive revisions.

The Spice of Earth was Leonard Cohen’s second book of poetry that he published.

Cohen was also well-known for his song-writing abilities. He often put his poetry into music. His most popular song written in 1984 was Hallelujah. Translated into several languages, it became popular all around the world.

Leonard Cohen died in 2016 at the age of 82. But his legend as a famous Canadian author and songwriter lives on.

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A photo of one of my favorite Canadian authors, Leonard Cohen.

Rupi Kaur

Rupi Kaur is another inspirational favorite Canadian author of mine. At the young age of 21-years-old, Rupi wrote, illustrated, and self-published her first book of poetry entitled “milk and honey.” It has sold over 8 million copies. It has also been translated into 42 different languages worldwide. That’s pretty impressive for a Canadian university student to accomplish.

Her next collection of poetry was entitled “the sun and her flowers.” It quickly became a New York Times best-selling book of poetry and prose.

Her latest collection of poetry, called “homebody” is currently #1 on several bestsellers lists around the world.

Rupi’s talented work of art centers on feminist challenges faced by young women. It also focuses on positive body image, trauma, healing, pain, heartache, and migration to Canada.

She is definitely an inspiration to all struggling Canadian authors. Proving that hard work pays off.

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An image of one of my favorite Canadian authors, Rupi Kaur.

Karen Connelly

Calgary, Canada-born Karen Connelly is next on my list of favorite Canadian authors. She has published eleven books of various genres, including, poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction.

CBC’s Bill Richardson referred to her as “one of Canada’s smartest, fiercest and most intrepid writers of all times.”

Famous for her political activism, many of her books explore topics ranging from political prisoners, struggles in the Burmese, refugees, to revolutionary soldiers.

In 1993, Karen won the Governor General’s Literary Award for best non-fiction for her novel “The Dragon: A Thai Journal.”

Karen divided her time between Canada and Greece. In 2007, she won Britain’s Orange Broadband New Novelist’s Prize for her novel “The Lizard Cage.”

She also teaches creative nonfiction at the University of Guelph’s MFA program. I am fortunate to have had her as my mentor on the Creative Writing course I took in 2020.

My favorite books by Karen Connelly

Some of my favorite books that I have read from Karen’s creative work include:

  • The Border Surrounds Us – 2000
  • The Lizard Cage – 2005
  • The Change Room – 2017
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A photograph of one of my favorite Canadian authors, Karen Connelly.

Louise Penny

I saved the best in Canadian authors for last! Louise Penny is my all-time favorite Canadian author. She was born on July 1, 1958, in Toronto, Canada. She is the author of several exciting mystery novels.  They are set in Quebec, Canada. Centered around the work of Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Surete Du Québec. Her books do not disappoint.

Awards Won by Louise Penny

  • Penny first began her career as a radio broadcaster for CBC. After she switched careers to writing, she won many awards, including:
  • The Agatha Award
  • The Anthony Award
  • The New Blood Dagger Award
  • Member of the Order of Canada
  • Member of the Order of Quebec
  • The Barry Award
  • Macavity Award
  • Nero Award
  • The Arther Ellis Award
  • The Edgar Award

Books that were written by Louise Penny

Some of Penny’s greatest literary accomplishments throughout her writing career include:

  • Still Life, 2005
  • A Fatal Grace, 2007
  • The Cruelest Month, 2008
  • The Murder Stone, 2009
  • The Brutal Telling, 2009
  • Bury Your Dead, 2010
  • A Trick of the Light, 2011
  • The Hangman, 2011
  • The Beautiful Mystery, 2012
  • How the Light Gets In, 2013

More recently written books by Louise Penny

  • The Long Way Home, 2014, Clara enlists Inspector Gamache to help locate her missing husband, Peter.
  • The Nature of the Beast, 2015, Gerald Bull’s assassination, and his supergun are central plot elements.
  • A Great Reckoning, 2016, A map is found on the walls of the Three Pines bistro. It unravels secrets about Gamache’s new job as the Superintendent of the Police Academy.
  • Glass Houses, 2017, A dark figure appears in Three Pines Hotel. It leads Gamache to murder.
  • Kingdom of the Blind, 2018, Gamache, Myrna and a young builder become executors to the will of a woman. None of them had ever met her before.
  • A Better Man, 2019
  • All the Devils Are Here, 2020
  • The Madness of Crowds, 2021
  • State of Terror, 2021
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A photo of one of my favorite authors, Louise Penny, posing by a bookshelf with a beach in the background.

Conclusion

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An open red and white book, containing symbols pertaining to Canada, in the significance of favorite Canadian authors.

There are so many other incredible Canadian authors that didn’t make my favorite authors list but deserve to be honorably mentioned in my article, including these new and recently emerging Canadian authors; Maggie Knox, author of the Holiday Swap, Thomas King, author of Cold Skies, and Teresa Toten, author of Eight Days.

So, when you are looking for something to do on a cold winter’s day in Canada or anywhere else in the world, make sure to check out some of these amazing Canadian authors.

 

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