This is an essay by Vanessa Santilli.
With Canada Day quickly approaching, it’s time to appreciate the best the Canadian literary world has to offer. From writing about real-life political secrets and communication theory to dystopian societies and fantastical quests, the works of these Canadian writers are as diverse as the people that inhabit this vast landscape. To get you ready for July 1, here are some of the best writers that the Canadian literary world has to offer.
1. Yann Martel
While you may not be familiar with this Canadian author, you’ve likely seen his novel, The Life of Pi, play out on the big screen. At the 85th Academy Awards, the film adaptation received four awards, including best director. Martel’s fantastical writing — The Life of Pi’s primary setting was on a boat with a tiger in the middle of the ocean — will entertain, inspire and make you question your notions of truth.
2. Peter C. Newman
A journalist and writer, Peter C. Newman is both an officer of the Order of Canada and served as a captain in the Royal Canadian Navy. His writing career is just as interesting, having penned numerous bestsellers looking at the top politicians of the day. One of his most significant was The Secret Mulroney Tapes: Unguarded Confessions of a Prime Minister, a tell-all biography of former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney. The book caused quite the splash and resulted in lawsuits from both Mulroney and media baron Conrad Black.
3. Marshall McLuhan
A Canadian icon, Marshall McLuhan advanced thinking in the world of communication theory. He is famous for saying that the “medium is the message,” which means that the technology or method used to convey a message is more powerful than the message itself. Some of his books include The Medium is the Massage and Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man. Having lived before the age of social media, McLuhan was ahead of his time in saying that “each technology creates a new environment.”
4. Margaret Atwood
The quintessential Canadian author, Margaret Atwood is a must-read. Beloved by Canadians, many of Atwood’s novels have been turned into plays, including The Penelopiad — a response to Homer’s The Odyssey. She’s won dozens of awards for her writing over the years, including the prestigious Governor General’s Award. To see what all the hype’s about, I’d suggest starting with A Handmaid’s Tale, which takes place in a totalitarian state that has taken over the United States of America.
5. Lucy Maud Montgomery
The internationally recognized classic Anne of Green Gables put Lucy Maud Montgomery on the map. The novel is about the spirited Anne, an orphan from Prince Edward Island, and the ups and downs she experiences as she acquires a family of her own. Many famous authors, including Margaret Atwood, have acknowledged their indebtedness to the works of Montgomery, who wrote 20 novels in total along with 500 short stories and poems. Simply put, it doesn’t get any more Canadian than this.
Vanessa Santilli is a Toronto-based journalist and freelance writer. Visit her website at www.vanessasantilli.com or follow her on Twitter @V_Santilli.