O Canada: An Ode to Canadian Writers

Max Szyc, Larry McCloskey, Tanis Browning-Shelp, Lynette Wilson

There are some things that have just become synonymous with Canada: maple syrup, because, really, what are pancakes without it; hockey, because when it’s below freezing for almost half the year we need to find something weather-appropriate to excel in; and the fact that we produced both Ryan Gosling and Ryan Reynolds.

Dog-Eared Books is pretty proud to be a part of the Canadian publishing scene, but bigger than the delicious food, cold-weather sports, and movie stars we’ve produced are the incredible Canadian authors that we have the honour of admiring and being inspired by.

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So, in honour of Canada Day, here are some of Dog-Eared Books favourite Canadian authors:

 Larry Mccloskey

Larry Mccloskey

Robertson Davies nominated by: Larry. Robertson Davies has his roots in small-town Ontario, but the smallness of place doesn’t mean there is any smallness to his writing or stories. An errant snowball, thrown by a child in the first chapter of Fifth Business (the first novel in his Deptford Trilogy) results in an astonishing tale where rippling narrative tentacles extent to multiple countries, over many decades with jungian far-reaching implications.

Davies' writing brings us great characters and interesting plots that are always a pleasure to read and re-read.

 Max Szyc.

Max Szyc.

Max, our faithful background-work guru (seriously guys, he makes what we do possible!) came out of the shadows to bring a somewhat unexpected name to the table: science-fiction writer, William Gibson.

Despite being born in the United States and spending his first 18-ish years there, William Gibson began his writing career after moving to Vancouver – where he’s lived ever since. He now holds dual citizenship.

Even if science fiction isn’t usually your “thing” give Gibson a try. “Upon reading Neuromancer, Gibson’s famed 1984 debut novel,” says our Max, “I experienced a revelation. There were frenetic action sequences, technology run amok, visible and eerily plausible class wars. Essentially, things that seemed distant, yet within reach of modern society.”

Yes, there are sometimes spaceships, but who doesn’t love a flight of fancy once in a while? We’re pretty glad Gibson made the trek to the great white north to write them; we think you will be too.

 Tanis Browning-Shelp.

Tanis Browning-Shelp.

When asked about her favourite Canadian author, Tanis began with a disclaimer: “You’ll think I’m jumping on the bandwagon along with fans of the hit web television series The Handmaid’s Tale to say that Margaret Atwood is my favourite Canadian Author.” She knew it might sound cliché to choose Atwood in this context too, but she stresses that that’s just too bad, because it’s the out-and-out truth!

“In high school, Atwood's novels, short stories, and poetry could keep me up past 2:00 a.m. on a school night, my flashlight trained on her words beneath my covers where I stifled whoops of laughter at her bizarre situations and images,” Tanis remembers. “Just like young readers who lined up for the newest Harry Potter releases, I queued up early one morning for my hardcover copy of Cat’s Eye. (Atwood was coming to Western for a reading and book signing.) I still get goosebumps as I smooth my hand over her signature and relive that evening. I continue to read and re-read Atwood’s work for its scathing humour, feminism, Canadian settings, unforgettable characters, haunting/disturbing visions, and hope.”

The breadth of Margaret Atwood’s  writing is astonishing. Not looking for a novel? Check out her poetry. Not into nature-poetry? Check out her political stuff. It’s always worth the ride.

 Lynette Wilson

Lynette Wilson

Lynette, quite possibly had the most instantaneous response when asked to name her favourite Canadian author. Gweldolyn MacEwan was her resounding and unwavering reply. “Especially her Magic Animals collection, if you wanted to know.”

MacEwan’s work was influenced by the whole world, including a novel about Egypt, King of Egypt, travel memoirs about her time in the Mediterranean, and poetry that’s the perfect blend of empowering feminism, graceful awe of her inspiration(s), unabashed views of the world, and it’s just a little bit sexy.

Canada has produced a lot of incredible things, and more importantly a lot of incredible people worth being inspired by. These are some of our favourites, we think they could become some of your favourites too.


Editor

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Lynette is a writer, musician, and oxford comma purist by night, and a coffee-drinking fiend by day—in that order. For her, compelling characters make the world go round, one cracked-spine, marginalia-filled, dog-eared book at a time.