With the works of such internationally acclaimed authors as Margaret Atwood, Michael Ondaatje, Alice Munro and Lawrence Hill, Canada is a force to be reckoned with on the literary stage. The Canadian Encyclopedia includes a variety of articles about literature in Canada, both fiction and non-fiction, gathered by topic in this collection.
The Governor General’s Literary Awards are the pre-eminent literary prize offered for single works in Canada. They serve to reward Canadian writers and to publicize Canadian literature through the announcement of short-listed nominees and the awards ceremony each year. As of 2017, there were 14 categories, seven each in English and French, with a cash prize of $25,000 each. The publisher of each winning book receives $3,000 to promote it, and authors that are shortlisted as finalists receive $1,000.
Lucy Maud Montgomery’s first novel, Anne of Green Gables (1908), became an instant bestseller and has remained in print for more than a century, making the character of Anne Shirley a mythic icon of Canadian culture. The book has sold an estimated 50 million copies worldwide, been translated into at least 36 languages, as well as braille, and been adapted more than two dozen times in various mediums. A musical version first produced by the Charlottetown Festival in 1965 is the longest running annual musical theatre production in the world, while the award-winning 1985 CBC miniseries starring Megan Follows is the most-watched television program in Canadian history. Thousands of tourists visit Prince Edward Island each year to see the “sacred sites” related to the book, and the sale of Anne-related commodities such as souvenirs and dolls has come to constitute a cottage industry.