Becoming a famous author can be highly rewarding, offering various benefits. One of the most notable perks involves the chance to develop something unique and entirely your own. The most famous Canadian authors enjoy the liberty to express their thoughts and creativity without being bound by a specific field or profession. Best of all, this career choice enables authors to present their work to audiences worldwide, which is a fulfilling experience. Many consider being an author as one of the happiest jobs in Canada.
Achieving fame as an author is a remarkable accomplishment that very few can boast of. As a famous Canadian writer, you possess a dedicated fanbase who eagerly anticipates your next publication. Being well-known also grants you the power to leverage your influence for positive change, be it advocating for social causes or creating awareness about significant issues. Nevertheless, fame brings its own set of hurdles, such as confronting criticism and navigating media scrutiny.
Canada is home to some famous authors who have left their mark on the literary landscape. Margaret Atwood is among the most accomplished Canadian writers, recognized for her feminist-oriented works like The Handmaid’s Tale and Alias Grace. Alice Munro, another celebrated Canadian author, is widely acknowledged as a master of short story writing; her achievements include earning the Nobel Prize in Literature. Yann Martel also enjoys recognition as a prominent Canadian writer with his book, Life of Pi, adapted into an Oscar-winning movie.
Through their compelling writing, these accomplished authors continue inspiring and captivating readers around the world. Check out our list of the most famous authors in Canada.
What makes the best authors?
We’ll judge the best authors in Canada based on these four criteria:
The power of storytelling is a critical aspect for exceptional authors, as it forms the foundation of an outstanding book. A captivating narrative has the ability to immerse readers in a different realm and maintain their interest until the very end.
Exceptional authors are skilled in weaving stories that construct engaging plots, develop fascinating characters, and leave a lasting impression on readers even after they have completed the book.
The writing style is an indispensable element for top authors, as it establishes the sound, viewpoint, and pacing of their work. An exceptional writing style brings a story to life, enchanting readers with its distinct voice and point of view.
Famous Canadian authors are adept at employing language and tone. They can forge an emotional bond with their audience, instilling emotions that persist long after finishing the book.
Creativity serves as a vital benchmark for distinguished authors, empowering them to tackle subjects with an innovative and original approach. Imaginative authors can transform ordinary or well-known topics into innovative and thrilling experiences.
Famous authors are also proficient in creating unconventional stories that blur genre boundaries and defy reader expectations. This flair for creativity sets extraordinary authors apart from their peers, allowing them to produce truly unique and memorable works.
The importance of originality cannot be understated when evaluating best authors. It ensures they stand out in a competitive landscape. Authors who prioritize originality craft one-of-a-kind characters, settings, and narratives that invigorate readers with their exclusive vision.
Writers should challenge readers’ existing beliefs and stereotypes by offering unique insights into familiar subjects. The best Canadian authors are revolutionary thinkers capable of establishing entirely new narratives for others to emulate.
List of most famous authors in Canada
- Margaret Atwood
- Miriam Toews
- Lawrence Hill
- Richard Wagamese
- Joseph Boyden
- Yann Martel
- Esi Edugyan
- Eden Robinson
- Douglas Coupland
- Michael Ondaatje
- David Adams Richards
- Ann-Marie MacDonald
- Dionne Brand
- Shyam Selvadurai
- Madeline Thien
- Vincent Lam
- Alistair MacLeod
- Robertson Davies
- Farley Mowat
- Rawi Hage
Most famous Canadian author
Margaret Atwood is one of the most famous Canadian authors. Hailing from Ottawa, Ontario, Atwood stands as a shining star in the Canadian literary constellation. Her remarkable journey as a wordsmith stretches over five decades, featuring an expansive collection of poems, novels, short stories, and essays.
With prestigious accolades like the Booker Prize and the Governor General’s Award under her belt, Atwood has made waves through her compelling works that explore feminist themes and plunge into the depths of the human experience.
The Handmaid’s Tale, her internationally renowned novel, catapulted Atwood into global fame while inspiring an award-winning television adaptation. Her work also faced controversy. Some wanted to include it on the list of the banned books in Canada. Among her other notable creations are Oryx and Crake, The Blind Assassin, and Alias Grace.
Atwood raises her voice for environmental causes and highlights pressing issues like climate change. Owing to her substantial impact in both literature and activism realms, she has earned multiple honors such as being appointed a Companion of the Order of Canada and receiving the PEN Center USA Lifetime Achievement Award.
Famous female Canadian author
Miriam Toews, a famous Canadian author, has earned critical acclaim for her significant contributions to the world of literature. Hailing from Steinbach, Manitoba, she captivates readers with her enthralling writing style and evocative storytelling.
Toews’ novels delve into a myriad of themes such as mental health, grief, and family dynamics. Her celebrated work, A Complicated Kindness, garnered her the Governor General’s Award and the Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, firmly establishing her presence in the Canadian literary landscape. Other distinguished works penned by Toews include Women Talking, All My Puny Sorrows, and Irma Voth.
Toews is devoted to raising mental health awareness. Candidly sharing her personal encounters with depression, she utilizes her platform to shed light on mental illness and combat the stigma associated with it. In honour of her significant contributions, Toews has been decorated with numerous accolades including the Order of Manitoba and the Writers’ Trust Engel/Findley Award.
Famous Black Canadian author
From the quaint town of Newmarket, Ontario, Lawrence Hill is a famous Black Canadian author with a literary career that spans over two remarkable decades. His diverse portfolio entails a plethora of thought-provoking works that delve into themes such as identity, history, and social justice.
The Book of Negroes, Hill’s bestseller, has garnered an array of prestigious accolades including the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and CBC’s Canada Reads competition. Apart from this masterpiece, his pen has also crafted the critically praised novels Any Known Blood and The Illegal. Moreover, his non-fiction creations like Black Berry, Sweet Juice: On Being Black and White in Canada and Blood: The Stuff of Life have left their mark on readers as well.
Hill’s invaluable contribution to the literary and cultural realm has earned him esteemed honors like being appointed to the Order of Canada and receiving the Freedom to Read Award. A socially conscious advocate, he actively raises awareness about human rights issues while championing literacy through various creative efforts.
Famous Canadian Indigenous author
Richard Wagamese left an indelible mark on the literary world with his captivating tales and heart-wrenching narratives. Hailing from Northwestern Ontario and belonging to the Ojibwe Nation, he drew deeply from his Indigenous heritage to create his masterpieces.
His highly praised novel, Indian Horse, narrates the touching story of a young Indigenous boy’s struggle to survive and triumph over the traumas inflicted by residential schools. This remarkable novel went on to bag various accolades, including the prestigious Canada Reads competition in 2013. Among Wagamese’s other distinguished works are Medicine Walk, Starlight, and One Native Life.
Not only a literary genius, Wagamese was a fierce champion for Indigenous rights and reconciliation. He vehemently opposed the ill-treatment of Indigenous peoples and dedicated himself to fostering understanding and healing between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities.
In recognition of his monumental contributions to literature and activism, Wagamese received several awards and honors, such as the Molson Prize for the Arts and the George Ryga Award for Social Awareness in Literature.
Famous Canadian First Nations author
Joseph Boyden is a celebrated Canadian author with a literary career that has flourished for over twenty years. His diverse collection of works delves deep into themes like Indigenous identity, history, and social justice. This famous Indigenous Canadian is originally from Willowdale, Ontario.
The Orenda, arguably Boyden’s most famous piece, has garnered numerous esteemed awards such as the Scotiabank Giller Prize and the Canadian Authors Association Award for Fiction. Other highly praised works by Boyden include Three Day Road and Through Black Spruce, both of which have earned various accolades and nominations.
Boyden is a champion for Indigenous rights and reconciliation. He collaborates with numerous organizations to shed light on the challenges faced by Indigenous communities and has received acknowledgements like the Order of Canada and the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for his invaluable contributions.
Famous Canadian author from Spain
Yann Martel has enchanted readers around the globe with his richly imaginative narrative and deep examination of human existence. This celebrated Canadian author’s crowning achievement is the Life of Pi, a Booker Prize-winning novel that transports readers on a captivating adventure filled with survival and inner growth.
Among Martel’s additional remarkable works are Self, and Beatrice and Virgil, which consistently delve into the realms of personal identity, faith, and the transformative magic of storytelling. His distinctive and provocative writing technique has brought him an array of honors, such as the Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction and the Governor General’s Literary Award.
Aside from crafting literary masterpieces, Martel is a fervent supporter of animal welfare and environmental protection. His ingenious attempts to raise consciousness about these causes have earned him prestigious recognitions like the Green Prize for Sustainable Literature and the Animal Liberation Queensland Peace Prize.
Famous Canadian author from Calgary
Victoria-based author Esi Edugyan is a celebrated figure in Canadian literature, with over two decades of experience writing and publishing works that explore themes of identity, history, and human relationships.
Edugyan’s novel Half-Blood Blues was highly praised and garnered multiple awards, including the Scotiabank Giller Prize, the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, and the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize. The Second Life of Samuel Tyne and Washington Black are among her other notable works, which include shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize.
Edugyan is a passionate advocate for marginalized communities, including Black and Indigenous peoples. She has worked with organizations like PEN Canada and the Canadian Council for Refugees to promote human rights and social justice. For her contributions to Canadian literature and her advocacy work, Edugyan has received numerous honours, including the Order of Canada and the Freedom to Read Award.
Famous female Canadian Indigenous author
Eden Robinson has enchanted her audience with vivid narratives and insightful explorations of Indigenous identity and traditions. Born in the heart of Kitamaat Village, British Columbia, Robinson’s Haisla and Heiltsuk lineage provides a rich wellspring of inspiration for her literary creations, conveying a distinct perspective on the Indigenous experience.
Her highly praised novel, Monkey Beach, weaves a spellbinding story that delves deep into the intricate dynamics of family, society, and spirituality within Indigenous life. This captivating work garnered various honors such as the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize and the Vancouver Book Award. Other remarkable pieces from Robinson’s oeuvre include Traplines, Blood Sports, and Son of a Trickster – the latter earning yet another Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize and a spot on the shortlist for the prestigious Scotiabank Giller Prize.
More than just a skilled wordsmith, Robinson is an ardent champion for Indigenous rights and social equality. She utilizes her influence to shine light on pressing matters concerning Indigenous communities while earning accolades like the Writers’ Trust Fellowship and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship for her significant impact.
Famous Canadian author from Germany
Based in the scenic West Vancouver, British Columbia, Douglas Coupland has made a significant impact on Canadian literature and culture over the past thirty years. Revered for his insightful exploration of pop culture, technology, and generational changes, Coupland’s writing truly resonates with readers.
With his debut novel, Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture, Coupland burst onto the literary scene and introduced the world to the term “Generation X.” His collection of bestsellers has continued to grow with works like Microserfs, JPod, and The Gum Thief. Coupland’s unique and imaginative writing style has earned him a slew of accolades such as the Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Literary Excellence and the prestigious Order of Canada.
Famous Canadian author from Sri Lanka
Michael Ondaatje has mesmerized readers with his vivid storytelling and perceptive explorations into the human spirit. Born in Colombo, Sri Lanka, his diverse heritage offers a fresh outlook on themes of identity and belonging, evident throughout his literary creations.
The English Patient, his acclaimed masterpiece, claimed the esteemed Man Booker Prize and was transformed into a triumphant film adaptation. Other remarkable pieces from Ondaatje’s impressive repertoire encompass Anil’s Ghost, Running in the Family, and In the Skin of a Lion—a Booker Prize nominee.
Ondaatje enjoys praise as a skilled poet, editor, and anthologist, gracing the pages of reputable literary journals and collections. His impact on Canadian literature has been acknowledged with a plethora of accolades such as the Order of Canada, Governor General’s Award, and Giller Prize.
David Adams Richards
Famous Canadian author from New Brunswick
David Adams Richards is a celebrated Canadian author, famous for his depictions of rural living and intricate character developments. Born in Newcastle, New Brunswick, Richards’ small-town upbringing instills authenticity and depth into his captivating narratives.
His highly praised novel, Mercy Among the Children, delves into the heartache of poverty, abuse, and the human condition with raw emotion. This commanding piece earned numerous accolades such as the Giller Prize and the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, reinforcing Richards’ stature as a literary fiction virtuoso. Other remarkable works in his impressive repertoire encompass The Bay of Love and Sorrows, River of the Brokenhearted, and Crimes Against My Brother.
Richards ardently champions social justice causes by leveraging his influence to highlight issues like poverty, environmental destruction, and rural communities’ struggles. His unwavering dedication has brought him multiple recognitions including the prestigious Order of Canada and the Writers’ Trust Matt Cohen Award.
Famous Canadian author from Nova Scotia
Ann-Marie MacDonald is famous for her compelling narrative style and thought-invoking explorations of human existence. Born in Germany and brought up in Canada, MacDonald’s distinct upbringing has shaped her literary masterpieces such as Fall on Your Knees and The Way the Crow Flies.
Her novel, Fall on Your Knees, unravels a spellbinding story that delves deep into the complex layers of family dynamics, love, and the essence of humanity. The novel received tremendous praise, winning a plethora of awards like the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best First Book and the Canadian Booksellers Association Libris Award for Fiction Book of the Year. MacDonald’s additional works like The Way the Crow Flies and Adult Onset have earned admiration for their profound insights into the human mind and their heart-rending depictions of personal growth and self-realization.
MacDonald’s influence also spans into her achievements as a playwright and screenwriter. Her creations such as Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet) and the TV series Alias Grace have been met with accolades. As a fervent supporter of social justice and equality, MacDonald utilizes her public presence to shed light on pressing matters like LGBTQ rights and mental health awareness.
Famous Canadian author from Toronto
Dionne Brand has mesmerized audiences through her heartfelt contemplations on the Black diaspora and the crossroads of identity and social equity. Born in Guayaguayare, Trinidad and Tobago, her background in a society entrenched in colonialism and racial strife has shaped her thought-provoking literary creations.
Brand’s novels, poetry compilations, and essays span an array of topics such as Caribbean traditions, migration, queer identity, and anti-Black prejudice. Her critically-admired novel, In Another Place, Not Here, garnered her both the Trillium Book Award and the Toronto Book Award. Simultaneously, her poetic collection Land to Light On received the Griffin Poetry Prize and Governor General’s Award for Poetry.
Apart from her literary prowess, Brand stands as a passionate advocate for social equality and human rights. Her dedication to activism is mirrored in her writing that addresses critical matters like police violence, anti-Black discrimination, and slavery’s enduring consequences.
Famous Asian Canadian writer raised in Toronto
Born in Colombo, Sri Lanka in 1965, Shyam Selvadurai became a remarkable Sri Lankan-Canadian literary luminary. At the young age of 19, he and his family embarked on moving to life in Canada, where he pursued undergraduate studies at York University in Toronto. Selvadurai’s unique talent lies in exploring identity, race, and sexuality—often echoing his personal journey as a gay Tamil Canadian. Moreover, his activism goes beyond writing as he advocates passionately for LGBTQ+ and Tamil rights.
Selvadurai’s writing career began with his debut novel, Funny Boy, in 1994. This was a mesmerizing coming-of-age story set against Sri Lanka’s turbulent political climate throughout the 1970s and 1980s. Receiving numerous honours such as the Lambda Literary Award for Gay Men’s Fiction, this novel catapulted him to international acclaim. His repertoire features Cinnamon Gardens, The Hungry Ghosts, and The Devil Dancers.
As a Sri Lankan-Canadian author, Selvadurai masterfully interlaces both identities into his work. He has expressed how his Tamil heritage remains an unyielding cultural touchstone throughout his life despite navigating various cultures. Embracing LGBTQ+ themes and depicting queer individuals of colour’s experiences are integral to his storytelling. Steadfast in championing representation within the literature and media spheres, Selvadurai continues to be a potent and inspiring voice for many.
Famous Canadian writer from Vancouver
Born in Vancouver, British Columbia, Madeleine Thien is a famous Asian Canadian author whose roots blend Chinese and Malaysian heritage. Raised in a predominantly Chinese neighbourhood, her love of the written word led her to Simon Fraser University, where she earned her English Literature degree. This intellectual adventure continued as she pursued a Master’s degree at the University of British Columbia.
Thien’s talent and skill have garnered awards and acclaim. Her first novel, Certainty, was released in 2006, and it was nominated for the prestigious Amazon.ca/Books in Canada First Novel Award. Her keenly anticipated second outing, Dogs at the Perimeter, released in 2011, was nominated for the Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction.
Thien’s profound understanding and embrace of her complex Asian ancestry enables her to artfully intertwine themes of identity, history, and displacement throughout her oeuvre. Delving deep into the lives of Chinese immigrants and their descendants in Canada, she also masterfully dissects modern China’s political and social challenges. Thien’s influence stretches far beyond fiction as she stands as a commanding presence in today’s literary landscape.
Famous Canadian writer from Ottawa
Vincent Lam adeptly juggles medical expertise and writing. Born in Ottawa, Ontario in 1974, he spent his formative years in the city and then pursued undergraduate and medical studies at the prestigious University of Toronto. Following his internal medicine residency at the same esteemed institution, Lam practiced medicine while engaging in stimulating research.
Beyond his medical pursuits, Lam captivates readers with his literary prowess. His first ensemble of short stories, Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures, surfaced in 2006 and garnered the Scotiabank Giller Prize. Fueled by personal experiences throughout his medical career, these narratives delve into the intricacies of life and death. They also examine the human condition. The Headmaster’s Wager and The Water Beetles, two more mesmerizing books, followed to significant critical acclaim.
Threads of Lam’s Asian heritage meander through his literary creations, often probing into the lives of Hong Kong immigrants and successive generations who settled in Canada. In interviews, he delves into his own family’s complex past and the subtle equilibrium one encounters when bridging two unique cultures. Moreover, Lam actively supports diversity within literature and assorted art forms while striving to elevate the voices of those pushed to the fringes of creative spheres.
Famous Canadian author from Saskatchewan
For many years, Alistair MacLeod captivated audiences with his vivid portrayals of rural existence and deep character development. Born in North Battleford, Saskatchewan, MacLeod’s childhood in a quaint seaside village on Cape Breton Island enriched his narratives with a genuine appreciation for the locale and a profound connection to the human experience.
His highly praised novel, No Great Mischief, delves into issues of identity, kinship, and ancestry through the experiences of the Macdonald family. This compelling masterpiece garnered numerous honors for MacLeod, such as the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and the Trillium Book Award, solidifying his status as a literary virtuoso. Other remarkable creations in his extraordinary repertoire encompass Island: The Complete Stories, As Birds Bring Forth the Sun and Other Stories, and The Lost Salt Gift of Blood.
MacLeod held a fervent commitment to social justice and environmental concerns. He wielded his influence to spotlight pressing matters faced by rural communities like the impacts of mining and logging on nature’s balance and the challenges confronting working-class households. His dedicated endeavors earned him prestigious accolades like the Order of Canada and the PEN/Malamud Award for distinction in the art of short storytelling.
Famous Canadian author from Thamesville
Robertson Davies, a Canadian literary titan, is celebrated for his mesmerizing storytelling and profound exploration of human nature. Growing up in Thamesville, Ontario, his rural background nurtured a deep appreciation for the intricacies of human connections and the allure of small-town existence.
His highly praised novel, Fifth Business, spins an enchanting narrative of magic, mythology, and personal metamorphosis that has garnered him extensive acclaim and a plethora of awards, such as the Governor General’s Award and the Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour. Other notable works in his collection include The Deptford Trilogy, The Cornish Trilogy, and Murther & Walking Spirits – all contributing to his esteemed position as a maestro of literary fiction.
Davies was a distinguished figure in Canadian academia. He served as the inaugural Master of Massey College at the University of Toronto and received numerous honorary degrees and academic honors throughout his illustrious career. He was also an ardent supporter of the arts and a defender of cultural heritage and identity. He employed his influence to advance Canadian literature and cultivate a deeper appreciation for the nation’s unique history and customs.
Famous Canadian author from Belleville
Farley Mowat is celebrated for his mesmerizing tales, depicting evocative human experiences. Born in Belleville, Ontario, Mowat’s early life was profoundly influenced by his curiosity about the natural world, which deepened his comprehension of the ties between humans and their surroundings.
His acclaimed masterpiece, Never Cry Wolf, offers a fascinating and perceptive narrative investigating the bond between humans and wildlife. This work propelled him to global fame and prestigious awards such as the Governor General’s Award and the Order of Canada. Other remarkable works by Mowat include Owls in the Family, The Boat Who Wouldn’t Float, and A Whale for the Killing—each demonstrating his extraordinary storytelling prowess and profound appreciation for nature.
Mowat was an ardent supporter of environmental preservation and social justice. He harnessed his influence to raise consciousness about critical issues of his era, including endangered species protection and Indigenous rights advocacy. His steadfast commitment and activism brought him additional accolades, like the Royal Canadian Geographical Society’s Gold Medal and a spot on the United Nations Global 500 Roll of Honor.
Famous Canadian author raised in Montreal
Born in Beirut, Lebanon in 1964, Rawi Hage has carved a significant place for himself among Lebanese-Canadian writers. His journey brought him to Montreal, Quebec in 1991, a place he has called home ever since.
The American University of Beirut saw Hage’s architectural talents flourish as he earned his Bachelor’s degree there before practicing architecture in his homeland. Destiny, however, had other plans for him as he migrated to Canada and obtained a Master’s degree in Literature from the University of Montreal.
Hage’s vivid storytelling peppers profound themes of immigration, displacement, and self-discovery. His literary prowess shone brightly with his debut novel De Niro’s Game in 2006, which garnered the prestigious International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award in 2008. Hage continued to charm readers with works such as Cockroach, Carnival, and the unforgettable Beirut Hellfire Society—a finalist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize in 2018.
With accolades like the Quebec Writers’ Federation Award for Best English-Language Fiction and the Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction to his name, Hage has cemented his status among the finest contemporary writers.