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Canada’s mighty pen

More than any other medium, literature has served as the most widespread and vivid portrayal of Canada to the rest of the world.

The Canadian literary community, composed of authors, poets, playwrights and essayists, has been the pool from which some of the country’s best cultural ambassadors have emerged.

Pierre Berton has popularized our history, while Farley Mowat has introduced southern readers to the wonders of nature in the Great White North.

Margaret Laurence painted a vivid picture of life and love in rural Canada. Margaret Atwood continues to explore the social issues of our time in a contemporary urban setting. Alice Munro’s short stories bring to life small-town characters – a raft of ordinary people of extraordinary passion.

Canada’s cultural backbone has been reflected through different literary eyes, whether it’s been in the French-language writings of Gabrielle Roy, Marie-Claire Blais and Michel Tremblay, the First Nations-inspired work of Tomson Highway or in the worldview taken by Sri Lankan-born Michael Ondaatje.

From the novels of Anne Hébert and Carol Shields, baseball stories of W.P. Kinsella and Prairie tales of W.O. Mitchell to the intricate storytelling of Robertson Davies, humour of Stephen Leacock, erudite literary criticism of Northrop Frye and sharp wit of Mordecai Richler, Canadians have never been lost for words.