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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: July 8, 2022

The 166 greatest Canadian works of literature

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
1893
Low Tide on Grand Pre
Bliss Carmen
Canada
Poem
 
The Magic House and Other Poems
Duncan Campbell Scott
Canada
Poetry collection
1895
Lyrics of Earth
Archibald Lampman
Canada
Poetry collection
1901
The Man from Glengarry
Ralph Connor
Canada
Novel
1904
The Imperialist
Sarah Jeannette Duncan
Canada
Novel
1907
Songs of a Sourdough
Robert Service
Canada
Poetry collection
1908
Anne of Green Gables
Lucy Maude Montgomery
Canada
Novel
1921
Maria Chapdelaine
Louis Hémon
Canada
Novel
1923
Newfoundland Verse
E.J. Pratt
Canada
Poetry collection
1925
Settlers of the Marsh
Frederick Philip Grove
Canada
Novel
1927
Jalna
Mazo de la Roche
Canada
Novel
 
The Master's Wife
Andrew MacPhail
Canada
Novel
1929
White Narcissus
Raymond Knister
Canada
Novel
1935
They Shall Inherit the Earth
Canada
Novel
1936
Two Fishermen
Canada
Story
1937
More Joy in Heaven
Canada
Novel
1939
Tay John
Howard O'Hagan
Canada
Novel
1941
Barometer Rising
Hugh MacLennan
Canada
Novel
 
As For Me and My House
Sinclair Ross
Canada
Novel
1942
His Majesty's Yankees
Thomas H. Raddall
Canada
Novel
 
David
Earl Birney
Canada
Poem
1943
News of the Phoenix and Other Poems
A.J.M. Smith
Canada
Poetry collection
1944
The Master of the Mill
Frederick Philip Grove
Canada
Novel
 
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
1946
East of the City
Louis Dudek
Canada
Poetry collection
1947
Music at the Close
Edward McCourt
Canada
Novel
 
Hetty Dorval
Ethel Wilson
Canada
Novel
 
Who Has Seen the Wind?
W.O. Mitchell
Canada
Novel
 
Poems for People
Dorothey Livesay
Canada
Poetry collection
1950
Home is the Stranger
Edward McCourt
Canada
Novel
 
Canada
Novel
1951
The Loved and the Lost
Canada
Novel
1952
The Mountain and the Valley
Ernest Buckler
Canada
Novel
1954
Swamp Angel
Ethel Wilson
Canada
Novel
1955
The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne
Brian Moore
Canada
Novel
1956
Canada
Poetry collection
1958
The Watch That Ends the Night
Hugh Maclennan
Canada
Novel
 
Execution
Colin McDougall
Canada
Novel
1959
The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz
Mordecai Richler
Canada
Novel
 
The Double Hook
Sheila Watson
Canada
Novel
 
Canada
Story collection
1960
Winter Sun
Margaret Avison
Canada
Poetry collection
 
Mad Shadows
Marie-Claire Blais
Canada
Novel
 
The Luck of Ginger Coffey
Brian Moore
Canada
Novel
1961
The Stone Angel
Margaret Laurence
Canada
Novel
1962
Flying a Red Kite
Hugh Hood
Canada
Story collection
1963
Never Cry Wolf
Farley Mowat
Canada
Memoir
 
Canada
Story 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
I Heard the Owl Call My Name
Margaret Craven
Canada
Novel
 
Bread, Wine and Salt
Alden Nowlan
Canada
Poetry collection
1968
Les Belles-Soeurs
Michel Tremblay
Canada
Play
1969
Five Legs
Graeme Gibson
Canada
Novel
 
The Studhorse Man
Robert Kroetsch
Canada
Novel
 
Selected Poetry
Irving Layton
Canada
Poetry collection
 
The Shadow-Maker
Gwendolyn MacEwen
Canada
Poetry collection
1970
Fifth Business
Robertson Davies
Canada
Novel
 
Kamouraska
Anne Hébert
Canada
Novel
 
The Ecstasy of Rita Joe
George Ryga
Canada
Play
 
The Weekend Man
Canada
Novel
1970–71
Creeps
David Freeman
Canada
Play
1971
Canada
Poetry collection
 
Lives of Girls and Women
Alice Munro
Canada
Stories
1972
More Poems for People
Milton Acorn
Canada
Poetry collection
 
Selected Poems
Al Purdy
Canada
Poetry collection
1973
The Book of Eve
Constance Beresford-Howe
Canada
Novel
 
The Temptations of Big Bear
Rudy Wiebe
Canada
Novel
1974
Canada
Novel
1976
Bear
Marian Engel
Canada
Novel
 
Coming Through Slaughter
Michael Ondaatje
Canada
Novel
 
1837: The Farmers' Revolt
Rick Salutin, Paul Thompson
Canada
Play
1977
The Wars
Timothy Findley
Canada
Novel
 
The Beggar Maid
Alice Munro
Canada
Story cycle
 
Stardance
Spider and Jeanne Robinson
Canada
Novel
1979
The Hockey Sweater and Other Stories
Roch Carrier
Canada
Play
 
Balconville
David Fennario
Canada
Play
1980
Selected Poem: Beyond Even Faithful Legends
Bill Bissett
Canada
Poetry collection
1981
The Alley Cat
Yves Beauchemin
Canada
Novel
 
Famous Last Words
Timothy Findley
Canada
Novel
 
Obasan
Joy Kogawa
Canada
Novel
 
Collected Poems
F.R. Scott
Canada
Poetry collection
1982
Shoeless Joe
W.P. Kinsella
Canada
Novel
 
Runnning in the Family
Michael Ondaatje
Canada
Memoir
1984
Neuromancer
William Gibson
Canada
Novel
 
The Engineer of Human Souls
Josef Škvorecký
Canada
Novel
1984–1986
The Fionavar Tapestry
Guy Gavriel Kay
Canada
Novel trilogy
1985
Black Robe
Brian Moore
Canada
Novel
1987
Mauve Desert
Nicole Brossard
Canada
Novel
 
The Stone Diaries
Carol Shields
Canada
Novel
 
In the Skin of A Lion
Michael Ondaatje
Canada
Novel
1988
Volkswagen Blues
Jacques Poulin
Canada
Novel
 
Nights Below Station Street
David Adams Richards
Canada
Novel
1990
Dry Lips Oughta Move to Kapuskasing
Tomson Highway
Canada
Play
 
Tigana
Guy Gavriel Kay
Canada
Play
 
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
 
Funny Boy
Shyam Selvadurai
Canada
Novel
 
Away
Jane Urquhart
Canada
Novel
1995
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
 
Fall on Your Knees
Ann-Marie MacDonald
Canada
Novel
 
Fugitive Pieces
Anne Michaels
Canada
Novel
 
The Englishman's Boy
Guy Vanderhaeghe
Canada
Novel
1997
The Hidden Room: Collected Poems
P.K. Page
Canada
Poetry collection
1998
Broken Ground
Jack Hodgins
Canada
Novel
 
The Colony of Unrequited Dreams
Wayne Johnston
Canada
Novel
 
Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet)
Ann-Marie MacDonald
Canada
Novel
 
The Little Girl Who Was Too Fond of Matches
Gaétan Soucy
Canada
Novel
1999
A Good House
Bonnie Burnard
Canada
Novel
 
Elizabeth and After
Matt Cohen
Canada
Novel
 
The Drawer Boy
Michael Healey
Canada
Play
 
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
Poetry collection
 
Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage
Alice Munro
Canada
Story collection
2002
The Polished Hoe
Austin Clarke
Canada
Novel
 
Life of Pi
Yann Martel
Canada
Novel
2003
Oryx and Crake
Canada
Novel
 
The Romantic
Barbara Gowdy
Canada
Novel
2004
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
2006
Lullabies for Little Criminals
Heather O'Neill
Canada
Novel
2007
The Book of Negroes
Lawrence Hill
Canada
Novel
 
Late Nights on Air
Elizabeth Hay
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
Half-Blood Blues
Esi Edugyan
Canada
Novel
 
The Cat's Table
Michael Ondaatje
Canada
Novel
2012
Indian Horse
Richard Wagamese
Canada
Novel
2013
The Orenda
Joseph Boyden
Canada
Novel
 
Bone and Bread
Saleema Nawaz
Canada
Novel
2017
Bellevue Square
Michael Redhill
Canada
Novel

 
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