Five modern classics from Canadian authors

Happy (belated) Canada Day! Canada Day is on July 1st, and so for the month of July I’ll be sharing Canadian related content. I’m keen to share books by Canadian and Indigenous authors. I’m also interested in sharing information about the history of our country. I think it’s important to understand our past to continue growing and improving as a nation.

Have you ever wanted to visit Canada? Here’s your chance to visit Canada through reading!

In this list, I’m sharing five modern classics from Canadian authors. I know in Canada we are pretty good at highlighting our home grown talent. But I find outside of Canada, we don’t get that much recognition.

So I want to highlight some of our modern classics to compliment the other famous classics you may hear about. Plus these classics span across our nation, so you’ll get a few different glimpses of life in Canada.

Five modern classics from Canada

Here’s a list of five modern classics with authors from Canada.

  1. Anne of Green Gables By Lucy Maud Montgomery (1908)
  2. Who Has Seen the Wind by W.O. Mitchell (1947)
  3. The Dog Who Wouldn’t Be by Farley Mowat (1957)
  4. Dance of the Happy Shades by Alice Munro (1968)
  5. The Fire-Dwellers by Margaret Laurence (1969)

Keep reading to find out more about each one.

Photo by Ric Matkowski on Unsplash

Anne of Green Gables (1908)

by Lucy Maud Montgomery

  • Year Published: 1908
  • Storygraph Categories:
    fiction, classics, middle grade, funny, hopeful, lighthearted, medium-paced
  • Considered a children’s classic novel, has been a huge source of tourism for the small province of Prince Edward Island in Canada

This heartwarming story has beckoned generations of readers into the special world of Green Gables, an old-fashioned farm outside a town called Avonlea. Anne Shirley, an eleven-year-old orphan, has arrived in this verdant corner of Prince Edward Island only to discover that the Cuthberts—elderly Matthew and his stern sister, Marilla—want to adopt a boy, not a feisty redheaded girl. But before they can send her back, Anne—who simply must have more scope for her imagination and a real home—wins them over completely. A much-loved classic that explores all the vulnerability, expectations, and dreams of a child growing up, Anne of Green Gables is also a wonderful portrait of a time, a place, a family… and, most of all, love.


Who Has Seen the Wind (1947)

by W.O. Mitchell

  • Year Published: 1947
  • Storygraph Categories:
    fiction, classics, emotional, reflective, slow-paced
  • Considered a Canadian classic, showcasing small town life on the Saskatchewan prairies

Hailed as a great Canadian classic on boyhood, Who Has Seen the Wind evokes the sheer immensity of the prairie landscape, from the relentless wind to the far reaches of the bright blue sky. Like children everywhere, Brian O’Connal is a curious sort, and with enchanting naïveté he bestows his unforgettable perspective on everything from gophers to God, from his feisty Irish grandmother to his friends Ben and Saint Sammy, the town of Arcola’s local madman. This is no simple, forgettable novel: Mitchell gives readers a memorable glimpse into the ins and outs of small-town life during the Depression years, always through Brian’s eyes, and in doing so creates a poignant and powerful portrait of childhood innocence and its loss.


The Dog Who Wouldn’t Be (1957)

by Farley Mowat

  • Year Published: 1957
  • Storygraph Categories:
    nonfiction, memoir, adventurous, funny, reflective, fast-paced

Farely Mowat’s best-loved book tells the splendidly entertaining story of his boyhood on the Canadian prairies. Mutt’s pedigree was uncertain, but his madness was indisputable. He climbed tress and ladders, rode passenger in an open car wearing goggles and displaying hunting skills that bordered on sheer genius. He was a marvelous dog, worthy of an unusual boy growing up in a raw, untamed wilderness.


Dance of the Happy Shades (1968)

by Alice Munro

  • Year Published: 1968
  • Storygraph Categories:
    fiction, short stories, dark, reflective, medium-paced
  • Munro’s first collection of stories and won the 1968 Governor General’s Award for English Fiction

Alice Munro’s territory is the farms and semi-rural towns of south-western Ontario. In these dazzling stories she deals with the self-discovery of adolescence, the joys and pains of love and the despair and guilt of those caught in a narrow existence. And in sensitively exploring the lives of ordinary men and women, she makes us aware of the universal nature of their fears, sorrows and aspirations.


The Fire-Dwellers (1969)

by Margaret Laurence

  • Year Published: 1969
  • Storygraph Categories:
    fiction, classics, emotional, reflective, slow-paced
  • Margaret Laurence is considered a major figure in Canadian literature

Convinced that life has more to offer than the tedious routine of her days, Stacey MacAindra yearns to recover some of the passion of her early romance. In this extraordinary novel, Margaret Laurence has given us yet another unforgettable heroine: smart, witty, but overwhelmed by the responsibilities of raising four children and trying to love her overworked husband.

The Fire Dwellers helps us to rediscover all the richness of the commonplace, as well as the pain, beauty–and humor–of being alive. Stacey’s state of mind is revealed in a swift-flowing stream of dialogue, reaction, reproach, and nostalgia. . . . Laurence] is the best fiction writer in the Dominion and one of the best in the hemisphere.–Atlantic


Final thoughts

I hope you found something of interest in this list of books written by Canadian authors.

I’m always looking for more suggestions of books to read. If you have a favourite book written by a Canadian author, please feel free to share it in a comment below!

Have you read any of these books? What did you think of the book?

I’d love to hear your thoughts in a comment below.