In celebration of Canada Day (Today!), we wanted to spotlight some of the extraordinary literature being produced by our neighbors up north. Here are ten exceptional titles by Canadian authors—a very small sampling of all the CanLit available in OverDrive Marketplace—from some of Canada’s best-known writers as well as a few up-and-coming literary stars.
The Antagonist by Lynn Coady
Lynn Coady got her start early, publishing her critically acclaimed first novel in her twenties and earning the Canadian Authors Association’s award for best writer under thirty. Her fifth and latest novel, The Antagonist, was shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and was described by the National Post as “a readable, quixotic coming-of-age story, a comedy of very bad manners, and a thoughtful inquiry into the very nature of self.”
Sword of the Spirit, Shield of Faith by Andrew Preston
This expertly woven account of how religion has shaped American foreign policy won Andrew Preston the prestigious Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction in 2013. “A sharp, clear, deeply researched examination . . . a frank, exhaustive, marvelously readable study.” –Kirkus Reviews
Journey with No Maps by Sandra Djwa
Sandra Djwa’s extensively researched biography of beloved Canadian poet P.K. Page was also a finalist for the 2013 Charles Taylor Prize. Fellow Canadian poet Rosemary Sullivan called it “a fitting tribute to one of our greatest poets . . . an illuminating portrait of Canadian cultural life in the latter half of the twentieth century.”
Time Lord by Clark Blaise
Clark Blaise was made an Officer of the Order of Canada for his lifetime contributions to Canadian letters, including his international bestseller Time Lord, a fascinating nonfiction account of how the world adopted standardized time.
The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood
This novel, the second book in the dystopian MaddAddam Trilogy, is the latest from Margaret Atwood, one of Canada’s most renowned writers. The first in the trilogy, Oryx and Crake, was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. The third and final installment, MaddAddam, is slated for publication in August 2013.
The Cat’s Table by Michael Ondaatje
This is the most recent novel by Michael Ondaatje, the celebrated Canadian author perhaps best known for The English Patient. The Cat’s Table, the story of a young boy on a solitary sea voyage, was hailed by the Globe and Mail as “a completely original orchestration of a coming-of-age story, memoir, maritime adventure as powerful as Conrad or Stevenson.”
Dear Life by Alice Munro
Dear Life is the latest, and perhaps the last, collection of stories from one of the greatest short-story writers of all time.
Barney’s Version by Mordecai Richler
Barney’s Version (1997) was the last novel published by acclaimed author and screenwriter Mordecai Richler before he died. This book is the fictional memoir of Barney Panofsky, who attempts to set his life story straight after being slandered by a one-time friend. “The book is always hilarious, but the humor is sharpened by the psychological accuracy/honesty and the richness of detail; in short, this is one well-written book.” –Library Journal
The Chimps of Fauna Sanctuary by Andrew Westoll
Journalist Andrew Westoll’s account of life at a chimp sanctuary was awarded the 2012 Charles Taylor Prize. As Temple Grandin put it, “this book will make you think deeply about our relationship with great apes.”
Life of Pi by Yann Martel
Life of Pi, the tale of a boy and a tiger lost at sea after a shipwreck, won the 2001 Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction and enjoyed renewed popularity after the movie version came out in 2012. This deeply moving and reflective novel, which claims to be “a story that will make you believe in God,” has cemented its place as a modern classic.
Carrie Smith is a Technical Writer at OverDrive.