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The Greatest Literature of Canada

The selection of literature from specific countries or regions is based on the continuing research carried out for our flagship list, The Greatest Literature of All Time, and all our other Greatest lists. It is also informed by the additional literary assessments of local readers, writers, critics and scholars.

On this list are literary works of all types, genres, cultures and periods by authors primarily associated with Canada.

This list focuses on major creative—mainly fictional—works, although some shorter or nonfiction writing of literary significance may also be included.

Latest update: January 3, 2024

The 111 Greatest Works of Canadian Literature

1832
Wacousta
John Richardson
Canada
Novel
1836
The Clockmaker, or the Sayings and Doings of Samuel Slick of Slicksville
Thomas Chandler Haliburton
Canada
Novel
 
The Backwoods of Canada
Catherine Parr Traill
Canada
Letters
1852
Roughing It in the Bush
Susanna Moodie
Canada
Memoir
1886
In Divers Tones
Charles G.D. Roberts
Canada
Poems
including The Tantramar Revisited, The Sower, The Potato Harvest, and others
1893
Low Tide on Grand Pré
Bliss Carmen
Canada
Poems
including Low Tide on Grand Pré, Windflower, A Sea Child, The Eavesdropper, and others
1895
Lyrics of Earth
Archibald Lampman
Canada
Poems
1904
The Imperialist
Sarah Jeannette Duncan
Canada
Novel
1907
Songs of a Sourdough
Robert Service
Canada
Poems
including The Shooting of Dan McGrew, The Cremation of Sam McGee, and others
1908
Anne of Green Gables
L.M. Montgomery
Canada
Novel
1925
Settlers of the Marsh
Frederick Philip Grove
Canada
Novel
1937
More Joy in Heaven
Canada
Novel
1940
David
Earl Birney
Canada
Poem
1941
As For Me and My House
Sinclair Ross
Canada
Novel
1944
Earth and High Heaven
Gwethalyn Graham
Canada
Novel
1945
Two Solitudes
Hugh MacLennan
Canada
Novel
 
The Tin Flute
Gabrielle Roy
Canada
Novel
 
By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept
Elizabeth Smart
Canada
Novel
1947
Who Has Seen the Wind?
W.O. Mitchell
Canada
Novel
 
Hetty Dorval
Ethel Wilson
Canada
Novel
1950
Canada
Novel
1954
Swamp Angel
Ethel Wilson
Canada
Novel
1959
Canada
Stories
including All the Years of Her Life, A Sick Call, Now That April's Here, Ancient Lineage, Two Fishermen, and others
 
The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz
Mordecai Richler
Canada
Novel
 
The Double Hook
Sheila Watson
Canada
Novel
1963
Canada
Stories
including The Conversion of Willie Heaps, The Yellow Sweater, The Magnet, One-Two-Three Little Indians, and others
 
Never Cry Wolf
Farley Mowat
Canada
Memoir
1964
The Circle Game
Canada
Poems
1965
Next Episode
Hubert Aquin
Canada
Novel
 
A Season in the Life of Emmanuel
Marie-Claire Blais
Canada
Novel
1966
Canada
Novel
 
A Jest of God
Canada
Novel
 
St. Urbain's Horseman
Mordecai Richler
Canada
Novel
1968
Michel Tremblay
Canada
Play
1969
Irving Layton
Canada
Poems
1970
Fifth Business
Robertson Davies
Canada
Novel
 
Kamouraska
Anne Hébert
Canada
Novel
1971
Canada
Poems
 
Lives of Girls and Women
Alice Munro
Canada
Stories
1972
Surfacing
Margaret Atwood
Canada
Novel
 
Selected Poems
Al Purdy
Canada
Poems
1974
Canada
Novel
1976
Bear
Marian Engel
Canada
Novel
1977
The Wars
Timothy Findley
Canada
Novel
 
The Beggar Maid
Alice Munro
Canada
Stories
 
Stardance
Spider and Jeanne Robinson
Canada
Novel

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1981
Famous Last Words
Timothy Findley
Canada
Novel
 
Obasan
Joy Kogawa
Canada
Novel
1984
Neuromancer
William Gibson
Canada
Novel
 
Sanaaq
Mitiarjuk Nappaaluk
Canada
Novel
 
The Engineer of Human Souls
Josef Škvorecký
Canada
Novel
1984–1986
The Fionavar Tapestry
Guy Gavriel Kay
Canada
Novel trilogy
 
Black Robe
Brian Moore
Canada
Novel
1987
In the Skin of a Lion
Michael Ondaatje
Canada
Novel
 
The Stone Diaries
Carol Shields
Canada
Novel
1988
Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet)
Ann-Marie MacDonald
Canada
Novel
1989
Dry Lips Oughta Move to Kapuskasing
Tomson Highway
Canada
Play
1990
Tigana
Guy Gavriel Kay
Canada
Novel
1991
Generation X
Douglas Coupland
Canada
Novel
1992
The English Patient
Michael Ondaatje
Canada
Novel
1993
The Robber Bride
Canada
Novel
 
Stranger Music: Selected Poems and Songs
Leonard Cohen
Canada
Poems
 
Green Grass, Running Water
Thomas King
Canada
Novel
1994
Funny Boy
Shyam Selvadurai
Canada
Novel
 
The Book of Secrets
M.G. Vassanji
Canada
Novel
1995
The Jade Peony
Wayson Choy
Canada
Novel
 
A Fine Balance
Rohan Mistry
Canada
Novel
1996
The Cure for Death by Lightning
Gail Anderson-Dargatz
Canada
Novel
 
Canada
Novel
 
Selected Stories
Mavis Gallant
Canada
Stories
including The Moslem Wife, In Youth Is Pleasure, The Chosen Husband, In Plain Sight, and others
 
Fall on Your Knees
Ann-Marie MacDonald
Canada
Novel
 
Fugitive Pieces
Anne Michaels
Canada
Novel
1998
The Colony of Unrequited Dreams
Wayne Johnston
Canada
Novel
1999
No Great Mischief
Alistair Macleod
Canada
Novel
 
Barney's Version
Mordecai Richler
Canada
Novel
 
Anil's Ghost
Michael Ondaatje
Canada
Novel
 
Mercy Among the Children
David Adams Richards
Canada
Novel
2001
The Beauty of the Husband
Anne Carson
Canada
Poems
 
Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage
Alice Munro
Canada
Stories
including Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage; The Bear Came Over the Mountain; and others
2002
The Polished Hoe
Austin Clarke
Canada
Novel
 
Life of Pi
Yann Martel
Canada
Novel
2003
Oryx and Crake
Canada
Novel
2004
Runaway
Alice Munro
Canada
Stories
 
A Complicated Kindness
Miriam Toews
Canada
Novel
2005
Three Day Road
Joseph Boyden
Canada
Novel
 
Still Life
Louise Penny
Canada
Novel
2006
Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures
Vincent Lam
Canada
Stories
 
Lullabies for Little Criminals
Heather O'Neill
Canada
Novel
2007
Late Nights on Air
Elizabeth Hay
Canada
Novel
 
The Book of Negroes
Lawrence Hill
Canada
Novel
2009
The Bishop's Man
Linden MacIntyre
Canada
Novel
 
February
Lisa Moore
Canada
Novel
 
Ru
Kim Thúy
Canada
Novel
2010
Room
Emma Donoghue
Canada
Novel
 
Annabel
Kathleen Winter
Canada
Novel
2011
The Sisters Brothers
Patrick deWitt
Canada
Novel
 
Half-Blood Blues
Esi Edugyan
Canada
Novel
 
The Cat's Table
Michael Ondaatje
Canada
Novel
 
Among Others
Jo Walton
Wales / Canada
Novel
2013
The Orenda
Joseph Boyden
Canada
Novel
 
Bone and Bread
Saleema Nawaz
Canada
Novel
2017
Bellevue Square
Michael Redhill
Canada
Novel
2019
This Is How You Lose the Time War
Amal El-Mohtar, Max Gladstone
Canada, United States
Novella

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