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The Greatest Canadian Literature

The list of Canada's greatest literary works is based on the same extensive research and surveys carried out over the past two decades for our Greatest Literature of All Time list—with special attention paid to the views of Canadian readers, writers, critics and scholars.

Within the Canadian context, we have endeavoured to cover all possible genres, cultures and periods.

As with the Greatest Literature list, preference is given on this list to major works of creative literature—such as novels, plays, and collections of stories and poems—although some significant shorter works have also been included.

Latest update: November 24, 2022

The 133 greatest works of literature from Canada

Click linked titles and authors for details, critiques and other comments.

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
Poetry collection
including The Tantramar Revisited, The Sower, The Potato Harvest, and others
1893
Low Tide on Grand Pré
Bliss Carmen
Canada
Poetry collection
including Low Tide on Grand Pré, Windflower, A Sea Child, The Eavesdropper, and others
1895
Lyrics of Earth
Archibald Lampman
Canada
Poetry collection
1904
The Imperialist
Sarah Jeannette Duncan
Canada
Novel
1907
Songs of a Sourdough
Robert Service
Canada
Poetry collection
including The Shooting of Dan McGrew, The Cremation of Sam McGee, and others
1908
Anne of Green Gables
Lucy Maude Montgomery
Canada
Novel
1925
Settlers of the Marsh
Frederick Philip Grove
Canada
Novel
 
Wild Geese
Martha Ostenso
Canada
Novel
1928
Canada
Poetry collection
1935
They Shall Inherit the Earth
Canada
Novel
1937
More Joy in Heaven
Canada
Novel
1939
Tay John
Howard O'Hagan
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
1952
Towards the Last Spike
E.J. Pratt
Canada
Poem
1954
Swamp Angel
Ethel Wilson
Canada
Novel
1956
Canada
Poetry collection
1959
Canada
Story collection
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
Story collection
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
Poetry collection
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
1967
The Ecstasy of Rita Joe
George Ryga
Canada
Play
1968
Les Belles-Soeurs
Michel Tremblay
Canada
Play
1969
The Studhorse Man
Robert Kroetsch
Canada
Novel
 
Selected Poetry
Irving Layton
Canada
Poetry collection
1970
Fifth Business
Robertson Davies
Canada
Novel
 
Kamouraska
Anne Hébert
Canada
Novel
1971
Canada
Poetry collection
 
Lives of Girls and Women
Alice Munro
Canada
Story collection
1972
Surfacing
Margaret Atwood
Canada
Novel
 
Selected Poems
Al Purdy
Canada
Poetry collection
1974
Canada
Novel
1976
Bear
Marian Engel
Canada
Novel
 
Coming Through Slaughter
Michael Ondaatje
Canada
Novel
1977
The Wars
Timothy Findley
Canada
Novel
 
The Beggar Maid
Alice Munro
Canada
Story cycle
 
Stardance
Spider and Jeanne Robinson
Canada
Novel

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1981
Famous Last Words
Timothy Findley
Canada
Novel
 
Obasan
Joy Kogawa
Canada
Novel
1982
Runnning in the Family
Michael Ondaatje
Canada
Memoir
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
The First Garden
Anne Hebert
Canada
Novel
 
Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet)
Ann-Marie MacDonald
Canada
Novel
 
Ana Historic
Daphne Marlatt
Canada
Novel
 
Volkswagen Blues
Jacques Poulin
Canada
Novel
1989
Dry Lips Oughta Move to Kapuskasing
Tomson Highway
Canada
Play
1990
Tigana
Guy Gavriel Kay
Canada
Novel
 
Lives of the Saints
Nino Ricci
Canada
Novel
1991
Generation X
Douglas Coupland
Canada
Novel
1992
The English Patient
Michael Ondaatje
Canada
Novel
1993
The Robber Bride
Margaret Atwood
Canada
Novel
 
Stranger Music: Selected Poems and Songs
Leonard Cohen
Canada
Poetry collection
 
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
 
Alias Grace
Margaret Atwood
Canada
Novel
 
Selected Stories
Mavis Gallant
Canada
Story collection
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
 
The Englishman's Boy
Guy Vanderhaeghe
Canada
Novel
1998
The Colony of Unrequited Dreams
Wayne Johnston
Canada
Novel
1999
A Good House
Bonnie Burnard
Canada
Novel
 
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
 
Monkey Beach
Eden Robinson
Canada
Novel
2001
The Beauty of the Husband
Anne Carson
Canada
Poetry collection
 
Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage
Alice Munro
Canada
Story collection
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
Fruit
Brian Francis
Canada
Novel
 
Runaway
Alice Munro
Canada
Story collection
 
A Complicated Kindness
Miriam Toews
Canada
Novel
2005
The Time in Between
David Bergen
Canada
Novel
 
Three Day Road
Joseph Boyden
Canada
Novel
 
Still Life
Louise Penny
Canada
Novel
 
Spin
Robert Charles Wilson
Canada
Novel
2006
Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures
Vincent Lam
Canada
Story cycle
 
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
 
The Birth House
Ami McKay
Canada
Novel
2009
The Enigma of the Return
Dany Laferrière
Canada
Novel
 
The Bishop's Man
Linden MacIntyre
Canada
Novel
 
February
Lisa Moore
Canada
Novel
 
Ru
Kim Thúy
Canada
Novel
2010
Annabel
Kathleen Winter
Canada
Novel
2011
The Antagonist
Lynn Coady
Canada
Novel
 
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
2012
Indian Horse
Richard Wagamese
Canada
Novel
2013
The Orenda
Joseph Boyden
Canada
Novel
 
Bone and Bread
Saleema Nawaz
Canada
Novel
 
The Hungry Ghosts
Shyam Selvadurai
Sri Lanka / 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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