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Author Topic: Great Canadian authors
maestro
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posted 25 September 2005 04:15 AM      Profile for maestro     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Wow, a books forum. Musta just happened.

So...great Canadian authors, which ones would you reccomend, and which not?

Also which books by which authors?


From: Vancouver | Registered: Jan 2005  |  IP: Logged
maestro
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posted 25 September 2005 04:30 AM      Profile for maestro     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
My own short list, in no particular order:

Margaret Laurence
Stephen Leacock
Margaret Atwood
Laurence Gough
Robertson Davies
Al Purdy
Morley Callaghan
Mordecai Richler

Well, that's a start, anyhow.

I would say I have been influenced in my thinking by each of those - some more than others, of course - but this is a sampling of authors I think have something to say.


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ToadProphet
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posted 25 September 2005 05:00 AM      Profile for ToadProphet     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I assume the category is fiction... so all the above and:

Michael Ondaatje
Guy Vanderhaeghe
Joy Kogawa - Obasan
Nino Ricci - In a Glass House
Wayne Johnston - The Colony of Unrequited Dreams
Rita Donovan - Landed


From: Ottawa | Registered: Sep 2005  |  IP: Logged
al-Qa'bong
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posted 25 September 2005 05:21 AM      Profile for al-Qa'bong   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
My two favourite books by Canadian authors are Who Has Seen the Wind by W.O. Mitchell and Beautiful Losers by Leonard Cohen.

I don't know if Al Purdy ever wrote any fiction, but when I was a grad student I was able to look through the Al Purdy archives and read original drafts (some written on the back of shopping lists) of some of his poems.

[ 25 September 2005: Message edited by: al-Qa'bong ]


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YPK
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posted 25 September 2005 07:49 AM      Profile for YPK     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Most Canadian writers leave me cold (and yawning), but Lynn Coady is fantastic, particularly her novels "Strange Heaven" and "The Saints of Big Harbour".
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Rand McNally
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posted 25 September 2005 09:51 AM      Profile for Rand McNally     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Findley, Guy Vanderhaeghe
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skdadl
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posted 25 September 2005 10:03 AM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Why should we leave out great writers of non-fiction? Literary history has always respected the accomplished essayist, and Canada has some (and then a lot of pretenders).

My favourite right now is Ronald Wright, who also writes novels. Elegaic, I think I would call his writing.

Richard Wright is also a wonderful novelist. And I've lately been catching up with Norman Levine, one of our great stylists, who just died this year.


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Lard Tunderin' Jeezus
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posted 25 September 2005 10:42 AM      Profile for Lard Tunderin' Jeezus   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Of slightly more recent vintage:

William Gibson
Guy Gavriel Kay
Douglas Coupland


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Judes
publisher
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posted 25 September 2005 11:46 AM      Profile for Judes   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Hey no-one has included Alice Munroe who is widely considered one of the best Canadian writers.

I just finished her book Runaway and it was superb. I am not usually a short story fan but Munroe gets as much of a world in a short story as most writers get in a novel. Alice Munroe is on the top of my list.

BTW I hope Toronto area babblers will be at Word on the Street today at 1:30 pm to hear me discuss literature and politics with writers Susan Swan, Camilla Gibb and Varda Burstyn


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skdadl
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posted 25 September 2005 12:05 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Now that sounds like a great group. For once, I have read at least some of all four, and they're all great talkers as well as writers. Susan Swan breaks me up; even her titles break me up (Stupid Boys Are Good To Relax With, eg).

More good story-tellers: Mavis Gallant, of course, and Alastair MacLeod.


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Hephaestion
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posted 25 September 2005 12:05 PM      Profile for Hephaestion   Author's Homepage        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Paul St. Pierre
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skdadl
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posted 25 September 2005 12:12 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Wayson Choy, The Jade Peony -- and just the start of a distinguished writing career.
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steffie
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posted 25 September 2005 12:37 PM      Profile for steffie     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Ann-Marie MacDonald - Fall on Your Knees, The Way the Crow Flies

also,

Mary Lawson - Crow Lake.


From: What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow / Out of this stony rubbish? | Registered: Mar 2003  |  IP: Logged
fern hill
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posted 25 September 2005 12:43 PM      Profile for fern hill        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Thomas King.
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David-Marc
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posted 25 September 2005 12:47 PM      Profile for David-Marc     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Some authors who wrote books I enjoyed:

-Roch Carrier (for "La Guerre, Yes Sir!" mostly)
-Anne-Marie MacDonald
-David Adams Richards
-Mordecai Richler
-Michel Tremblay
-Marcel Dubé
-my favourite Canadian author: Réjean Ducharme. I really need to read more of him.

I'm presently reading Manitoban writer Gabrielle Roy's "Alexandre Chenevert" which i'm enjoying, although the style is nothing special.


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Rambler
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posted 25 September 2005 03:26 PM      Profile for Rambler     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Miriam Toews
Yann Martel

They wrote at least one good book each.


From: Alberta | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged
kingblake
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posted 25 September 2005 03:52 PM      Profile for kingblake     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Glad someone mentioned Michel Tremblay, and I'd throw in Dany Laferriere, David Fennario, Stanley Péan too.

MG Vassanji's Canadian, right? He's damn good.

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Willowdale Wizard
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posted 25 September 2005 06:06 PM      Profile for Willowdale Wizard   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
barbara gowdy -- creator of the link bull, the one who knows all the omens and hidden meanings to coincidences.
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Hinterland
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posted 25 September 2005 06:27 PM      Profile for Hinterland        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Rohinton Mistry....I inhale what he writes.
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chubbybear
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posted 25 September 2005 06:31 PM      Profile for chubbybear        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
My two fave dark fantasy writers: Tanya Huff, Kelley Armstrong
From: nowhere | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged
Rundler
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posted 26 September 2005 12:04 PM      Profile for Rundler     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Thomson Highway
Beth Brant
Joy Kogawa
Dionne Brand
Carol Shields
and Margaret Atwood's Oryx and Crake -- sci-fi as it is -- was v. good IMO, though I haven't felt that way about ALL her work.
I love Camilla Gibb's stuff, of our panel. And Lynn Coady's (already mentioned.)

So, you've got lots to read!!! I'd love to hear which poets, of any nationality, people are reading, but maybe that's for another thread.

(By the way, the WOTS panel Judes mentioned was taped by rabble radio's Charlotte Scott and will appear -- likely in about three weeks -- in the new rpn's radio book lounge podcast.)

((Sorry, all that promoting yesterday has got me in perma-promo mode.))


From: the murky world of books books books | Registered: May 2002  |  IP: Logged
West Coast Tiger
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posted 26 September 2005 12:37 PM      Profile for West Coast Tiger     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by steffie:
Ann-Marie MacDonald - Fall on Your Knees, The Way the Crow Flies

I'm with you, Steffie. Ann-Marie rocks! I really love Good Night Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet), too.

Also, W.P. Kinsella.


From: I never was and never will be a Conservative | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged
gopi
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posted 26 September 2005 01:20 PM      Profile for gopi     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Marie-Claire Blais is by far my favorite.
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David-Marc
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posted 26 September 2005 07:58 PM      Profile for David-Marc     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by West Coast Tiger:

I'm with you, Steffie. Ann-Marie rocks! I really love Good Night Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet), too.


Read the play in high school. I haven't read much of her - just the play, and Fall on your Knees - but it was good enough to put her on my list.


From: Fort Rouillé, Pays d'en Haut | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
maestro
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posted 27 September 2005 04:11 AM      Profile for maestro     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Just to clarify, it was not meant to be only fiction. I guess I read more fiction than other, so my writers tended to be fiction writers.

I'll really have to get to some of the authors mentioned. I've heard many of the names but not read any of the books.

Margaret Atwood is kinda funny for me. I really don't like listening to her on radio, she has that peculiar nasal voice. However, I really do enjoy reading her, which only goes to show something or another...


From: Vancouver | Registered: Jan 2005  |  IP: Logged
West Coast Tiger
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posted 27 September 2005 11:52 AM      Profile for West Coast Tiger     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I just have to add Maria Campbell and her book Half-Breed. It really is one of most interesting and heart twisting biographies I've ever read.

A link to more information on the novel.


From: I never was and never will be a Conservative | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged
MartinArendt
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posted 27 September 2005 05:42 PM      Profile for MartinArendt     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Two words:

Avril Lavigne. Magnifique!


From: Toronto | Registered: Jun 2005  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
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posted 28 September 2005 08:26 AM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
WCT, I met Maria Campbell once, way back in the seventies, when she first published that memoir. I'm so glad you reminded me of her. She is a lovely woman, no nonsense, but very open and generous.
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RP.
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posted 28 September 2005 09:45 AM      Profile for RP.     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Ernest Buckler. I learned recently that he got his reputation as a writer from the the letters he wrote to Esquire magazine.

He also a bit like the Catch-22 guy, in that he was given a huge advance for a 2nd novel which he never wrote.

One of my favourite pieces of non-fiction is The Master's Wife, by Sir Andrew MacPhail. I find it especially interesting because he talks so much about the area where my mother's family comes from, and about Free Church of Scotland people.


From: I seem to be having tremendous difficulty with my lifestyle | Registered: Nov 2004  |  IP: Logged
West Coast Tiger
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posted 01 October 2005 01:34 AM      Profile for West Coast Tiger     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by skdadl:
WCT, I met Maria Campbell once, way back in the seventies, when she first published that memoir. I'm so glad you reminded me of her. She is a lovely woman, no nonsense, but very open and generous.

Wow. Knowing the life Maria Campbell led, it must have been amazing talking to her. She seems like a true survivor.

Did you know that she has written other books too? I believe she has put some of the stories and legends of the Metis/Cree people in print. She has also written a book on how the Plains Indians lived. She seems like a true crusader trying desperately to keep the traditions and stories of her people in the spotlight. I really respect that.

Sadly, I haven't found the time to read her other books. One day I will. Seems there is never enough time to read everything I want to read.


From: I never was and never will be a Conservative | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged
Merddyn Wyllt
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posted 19 October 2005 11:27 PM      Profile for Merddyn Wyllt   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Quote from Maclean's
"There is an elegiac quality to Beth Powning's writing, derived from her immersion in the rythms of the natural world....Few writers so stress the ties that bind a life to the place where it is lived; Powning's central artistic concern, both as a photographer and writer, has always been to locate herself - and her characters - along the great chain of being."

Beth Powning author of "Seeds of Another Summer", "The Hatbox Letters", ""Edge Seasons", and she wrote the essay from which David Suzuki's book got its name "When the Wild Comes Leaping Up"

[ 24 October 2005: Message edited by: Merddyn Wyllt ]


From: New Brunswick | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
siren
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posted 20 October 2005 04:30 AM      Profile for siren     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by steffie:
Ann-Marie MacDonald - Fall on Your Knees, The Way the Crow Flies

A big second, er third for MacDonald. I settled into read, Fall On Your Knees expecting something light as i had only seen the author on TV doing some humorous readings. Not. Light. It is a stunning tale of the ethnic experience in eastern coastal Canada -- Lebanese, African Canadian and African American to name some underrepresented groups in Canadian literature. The themes are racism, incest, class, success, failure, lesbianism, . . . But they are all so subtlety revealed that they do not hit you on the head, as with so many other novels discussing such unsettling themes. More than once I said some version of, "well, I didn't see that coming".

CBC covered some of the controversy surrounding the use of Harper Lee's, To Kill a Mockingbird in Halifax high schools. I couldn't help thinking -- why not a controversy over a Canadian novel with somewhat similar issues? Like Fall On Your Knees -- except that it is probably not suitable for young audiences.

Better in many ways is McDonald's The Way the Crow Flies. Excellent evocation of the Canadian military family milieu in 1960's. Remarkable interweaving of Canadian military concerns with those of the Americans in the ethos of the Cold War. Among highlights, Canadian and American recruitment of Nazi war criminals through Project Paper Clip, the Cuban Missile Crisis, Diefenbaker, paedophilia and judicial/social treatment of First Nations people. I was an air force brat in the same time period and I can't believe how MacDonald got everything so very right.

She really blew me away and I highly recommend her writing.

Thanks to everyone for the additions to my reading list.


From: Of course we could have world peace! But where would be the profit in that? | Registered: Nov 2004  |  IP: Logged
Hephaestion
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posted 20 October 2005 06:41 AM      Profile for Hephaestion   Author's Homepage        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
This guy might be more accurately described as a playwright than an "author", but what the heck...

Thompson Highway -- particularly, I was *hugely* impressed by his work, "Dry Lips Ought to Move to Kapuskasing". Spellbinding, fascinating, powerful. A true Canadian artist.

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Papal Bull
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posted 20 October 2005 05:32 PM      Profile for Papal Bull   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I know it is just kind of saying what a friend would want, but I went and found a copy of a book called Liturgy of Light by Stavros Tsimicalis. I'm not generally a big fan of poetry after the Romance period...But this was nice and relaxing
From: Vatican's best darned ranch | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
swirrlygrrl
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posted 20 October 2005 05:48 PM      Profile for swirrlygrrl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Findley was mentioned, but not the brilliant

David Adams Richards

Athabasca U has a great directory of Canadian writers.

I'm currently reading Morley Callahan's "They Shall Inherit the Earth." Oh, and of course I'd like to plug Stuart McLean - he's just so funny!


From: the bushes outside your house | Registered: Feb 2002  |  IP: Logged
ButterflyKiisses
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posted 15 April 2008 10:10 PM      Profile for ButterflyKiisses        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Anne Michaels- Fugitive Pieces. and any of her poetry really.
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Yibpl
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posted 16 April 2008 11:03 AM      Profile for Yibpl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I really like Greg Clark.

He wrote mostly newspaper/magazine articles, but wrote some short stories and books as well.

His bio is in Wikipedia and is worth checking out.


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