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Considering Canlit, post Canada Day

- July 3, 2008

In honour of Canada Day, a story in The Globe and Mail revisited a conference that took place 30 years ago. Organized by the late Dalhousie professor Malcolm Ross, the conference became famous for the list it drew up of "the most important 100 works of Canadian fiction."

Here's the top-10 novels on that highly controversial list:

  • The Stone Angel (1964) Margaret Laurence.
  • Fifth Business (1970) Robertson Davies.
  • As for Me and My House (1941) Sinclair Ross.
  • The Mountain and the Valley (1952) Ernest Buckler.
  • The Tin Flute (1947) Gabrielle Roy.
  • The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz (1959) Mordecai Richler.
  • The Double Hook (1959) Sheila Watson.
  • The Watch that Ends the Night (1959) Hugh MacLennan.
  • Who Has Seen the Wind (1947) W.O. Mitchell.
  • The Diviners (1974) Margaret Laurence.

"Taking a shot at a new canon," G&M writer James Adams asks experts, including Dalhousie English professor Dean Irvine, for their recommendations. (In the Skin of a Lion by Michael Ondaatje, By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept by Elizabeth Smart and Beautiful Losers by Leonard Cohen make Dr. Irvine's top 10.)

All of this is a long lead in for today's Dalnews discussion ... What work of Canadian fiction would you recommend?

READ: Taking a shot at a new canon in The Globe and Mail


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