January 2014 Archives

January 2014 Archives

How to choose your next book...



 Looking into Margaret Atwood's life and her influence on the literary community, gives readers only a glimpse into all that is going on in Canadian literature today. Atwood worked hard to get Canada on the map with her theories on Canadian literature as well as her bestselling novels. The influence is not lost on many of the Montreal students that I interviewed who had all heard her name before and remembered hearing she was important. Despite this importance, not everyone agreed she was the only name to know in Canadian literature. In fact, not everyone mentioned her before I brought her up.

To begin with two of the students I talked to mentioned Alice Monroe as the most influential Canadian writer which cannot be seen as a surprise since she recently won the Nobel Prize for literature. As Maria Mon, a creative writing student living in Montreal, but originally from Panama, said, Monroe "had brought Canadian literature into the spotlight." For her, however, the most influential writer will vary from person to person depending on what you're looking for in a Canadian writer. To make a writer Canadian, she says the author needs to have spent some time in Canada and want to be considered a Canadian writer.

Who is Canada's Sweetheart? Getting to know Margaret Atwood


Whether you know a lot or a little about Canadian literature, Margaret Atwood would probably be one of the first names that comes to mind if someone were to ask you about Canadian authors. Atwood not only sells books internationally, but gets recognized by many scholars as an influential literary figure. No matter what discussion you might find yourself having about Canadian literature or Canadian identity, Atwood would probably end up being a big part of it. How did this come to be the case? What do we really know about the author that brings Canada so much attention from the rest of the world? I have heard varying opinions on Atwood's personality, literary theories, and ideas, but no one can refute her popularity and influence, good or bad.

Born in Ontario, Atwood spent a great deal of her childhood travelling due to her father's work line of work. Since her father did research in the field of entomology, the study of insects, this meant that Atwood spent a lot of time very close to the Canadian wilderness which would later be seen to be a source of inspiration for not only her fiction and poetry, but also her academic theories related to Canadian identity. Due to the isolated areas of Quebec and Ontario that Atwood's family often lived in, Atwood did not follow a traditional learning path. Until she was twelve, Atwood did not complete a full year of school, but instead relied on her parents to guide her education. Later, at sixteen, Atwood made a decision to become a writer for a living. This brought her to study English literature at the University of Toronto before moving on to complete a graduate degree at Harvard University.


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