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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Literary Canada

Nearly a year ago, The Penguin Book of Canadian Short Stories was published. The anthology was selected and introduced by award-winning writer Jane Urquhart, and includes stories by major literary figures such as Mavis Gallant, Carol Shields, Alistair MacLeod, and Margaret Atwood, and wonderful stories by younger writers, including Dennis Bock, Joseph Boyden, and Madeleine Thien. It was called (by the publisher) "the most diverse and definitive collection of our nation's literature ever published."

Now, two Canadian magazines beg to differ. The New Quarterly and Canadian Notes and Queries have joined forces to celebrate stories by 20 writers (10 in each magazine) they were surprised the Penguin Book didn't include. To hear more about "one of the sharpest literary debates this country has ever seen," see the full story from The Toronto Star.

I'm a fan of a hot literary debate any day, though I have to admit I feel a little in the dark about this one. HFR has published its share of Canadian writers ("Big Baby" by Karina Fuentes in issue #39 is one of my favorites), but I don't pay as much attention to our neighbors to the north as I probably should. In the interest of changing that, here are some Canadian literary journals to pay attention to (in addition to the two listed above):

The Fiddlehead - First published in 1945, it is Canada's longest living literary journal.
The Malahat Review
The Antigonish Review
Event Magazine
PRISM International
West Coast Line

For a more complete list of literary journals and some brief descriptions, check out the Canadian Literature Centre (yes, Centre!).

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