13 Canadian Authors Everyone Should Read

TORONTO, CANADA - JULY 1: A young fan of the Toronto Blue Jays celebrates Canada Day before the start of MLB game action against the Milwaukee Brewers on July 1, 2014 at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
Source: Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images

In literature, as in almost any other category, Canadian voices often get lumped in with those from the U.S. There are plenty of distinct Canadian authors everyone should read, however, and the list of great Canadian novels goes far beyond Anne of Green Gables.

To a whole lot of non-Canadians, the Great White North seems like a bizzaro version of the U.S., in which everyone is polite, the Queen is still on the money, and more than one fifth of the population speaks French as their first language.

Contrary to popular belief, Canada is a lot more than the States' nicer, younger sibling. In many ways, it has more to offer. And, no, I'm not just talking about Canada being a respite from Donald Trump, a source of poutine, or even the closest supplier of Kinder Surprise Eggs.

As one of the most diverse countries in the world, Canada has a rich and varied culture, and that wealth of diversity extends to its literature. You needn't be familiar with Canada in order to access the country's must-read books and authors from the comfort of your own home. And trust me: even if the only Canadian writers you can come up with are Margaret Atwood and L.M. Montgomery, you will still find plenty of books to fall in love with.

Once you're done here, be sure to share your favorite Canadian writers with me on Twitter. These are the Canadian authors everyone should read.

1. Margaret Atwood

No list of great Canadian writers would be complete without Margaret Atwood. The author of The Handmaid's Tale and The Heart Goes Last has won the Arthur C. Clarke Award and Booker Prize, among other honors.

2. Kim Thúy

Governor General's Award-winning author Kim Thúy was born in Vietnam during the Tet Offensive. Her family fled the country on boats, later settling in Quebec, where Thúy worked as an interpreter, studied law, and became a restaurateur.

Click here to buy Ru.

3. Alice Munro

Another legend of Canadian literature, short story writer Alice Munro is the winner of numerous, prestigious honors, including the Booker and Nobel Prizes.

Click here to buy Lives of Girls and Women.

4. Joy Kogawa

As a young child, Joy Kogawa was among the people of Japanese descent interned by the Canadian government during World War II. Her semi-autobiographical novel of that period, Obasan, is often included in Asian-American Literature courses at U.S. universities.

Click here to buy Obasan.

5. Heather O’Neill

Montreal native Heather O'Neill is a poet turned novelist. Her debut novel, Lullabies for Little Criminals, won the Canada Reads competition in 2007.

Click here to buy Lullabies for Little Criminals.

6. Lee Maracle

Prolific First Nations author Lee Maracle co-founded British Columbia's En’owkin International School of Writing. If you've been searching for a feminist writer of color who consistently challenges white cultural domination, look no further. 

Click here to buy Celia's Song.

7. Kim Fu

Kim Fu was born in Vancouver and currently lives in Washington. Her debut novel, For Today I Am a Boy, was shortlisted for the 2015 Lambda Literary Award for Transgender Fiction.

Click here to buy For Today I Am a Boy. 

8. Shilpi Somaya Gowda

Born in Toronto to Indian immigrant parents, Shilpi Somaya Gowda used her experiences working in an Indian orphanage to inform her novel, Secret Daughter.

Click here to buy Secret Daughter.

9. Ann Y.K. Choi

Ann Y.K. Choi was born in Chungju, South Korea, and moved to Canada in 1975. At the time of this writing, she is completing her MFA in Creative Writing at San Diego's National University.

Click here to buy Kay's Lucky Coin Variety.

10. Esi Edugyan

Born to Ghanian immigrants in Alberta, Esi Edugyan was shortlisted for the Governor General's Award, Man Booker Prize, Scotiabank Giller Prize, and Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize for her second novel, Half-Blood Blues.

Click here to buy Half-Blood Blues.

11. Dionne Brand

Trinidadian-born author Dionne Brand immigrated to Canada to attend college. She is the author of several works of non-fiction and poetry, including Rivers Have Sources, Trees Have Roots and Ossuaries

Click here to buy Rivers Have Sources, Trees Have RootsOssuaries, and What We All Long For.

12. Lynne Kutsukake

Born in Vancouver to Japanese-Canadian parents interned during World War II, Lynne Kutsukake did not become fascinated with her ancestral culture until she moved to Tokyo to teach English.

Click here to buy The Translation of Love.

13. Eden Robinson

Born at the Haisla Nation Kitamaat Reserve, where she lives today, First Nations author Eden Robinson blended "contemporary realism with Haisla mystcism" in her first novel, Monkey Beach.

Click here to buy Monkey Beach.

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