Canadian Literature Pathfinder


A Celebration of Women Writers: CANADA

This low-tech site contains a vast list of the names of female Canadian poets, and links to pages with information about them. It is easily navigable in that it’s one giant list on a page, but on the down side, it’s one giant list on a page that you must scroll through in its entirety to find the woman you seek. The list is hugely comprehensive, though.

The Canadian Literature Archive

A low-graphic, fairly well-organized archive, run by the English Department of the University of Manitoba. The Author List is extensive and navigable alphabetically, but some of the many of the biographies and bibliographies are linked to offsite pages that can be slow or unreliable. The Texts section provides access to a very short and selective list of Canadian books, stories and poems published online. The Bibliography section provides an unorganised but frequently updated selection of some Canadian writers, listing their works and often secondary sources. The Gallery offers images of selected Canadian writers. The Writer’s Resource section compiles links to other sources about authors, online journals and magazines, and centres for scholarship on Canada.

Canadian Poetry

The Internet home of the Canadian Poetry Press, this site contains an extensive collection of scholarly works about Canadian poetry. An excellent source for high-brow pieces about a great deal of CanLit, particularly the early works, but the site is not easy to browse without a specific target in mind.

Literature – Library and Archives Canada

This federal government-run website provides links to information about or virtual exhibits of the extensive CanLit collections held by Library and Archives Canada. Highlights include the detailed profiles in the Canadian Writers section, the exhaustive access to the pages of William Lyon Mackenzie King’s diary and the lengthy section dedicated to early female CanLit stars Susanna Moodie and Catherine Parr Traill.


The Margaret Atwood Reference Site

A compilation of information by and about Margaret Atwood. The creative site includes a bio, bibliographies, the texts of some of Atwood’s speeches or articles on writing, lists of critical pieces and an FAQ about contacting Atwood. A highlight is the “From the Desk of Margaret Atwood” section, which offers photos of Atwood, book covers, bad reviews and cartoons hand-drawn by the author.

PEN Canada

Many prominent Canadian authors contribute their time and voices to this association, which works to aid silenced writers at home and abroad.
The site itself is fairly well organized, with a list of PEN
Canada programs, news about human rights abuses the group is working to reverse and press releases about the association’s activities.

Timothy Findley Obituary

This site features a lovingly crafted and detailed obituary for the late Timothy Findley, the well-known novelist, playwright and actor. As a CBC page, it also includes video and audio interviews with and about the writer affectionately known as “Tiff.” It also offers a brief bibliography and links to other CBC stories about Findley.

Mordecai Richler – Northern Stars

A comprehensive but film-centric biography and bibliography of the late novelist and non-fiction writer. The low-tech site offers a detailed description of his life and works.

Al Purdy – An Uncommon Poet

A CBC archive of interviews with, and about, the late formerly larger-than-life Canadian poet. The graphic-heavy site includes an interactive timeline pinpointing the interviews and links to other Purdy-related information, though it lacks a basic biography and bibliography. Links to similar sites about Mordecai Richler, Margaret Atwood and Margaret Lawrence are included at the bottom of the main page.

The League of Canadian Poets

This slow-loading archive offers short biographies and bibliographies of many member poets (some of which include e-mail addresses and links to personal websites), a disorganised news-centric main page, brief information about the association and a link to the official government site of Canada’s poet laureate.

The Leonard Cohen Files

An extensive collection of all things Leonard Cohen, this website is as offbeat as the famed poet/singer/songwriter himself. Its organization is unclear in some ways, featuring vague section titles, but the site offers exhaustive lists of links to news, poetry, songs, articles and interviews, critical essays and unpublished miscellanies by or about Cohen. The site also supports busy fan chatrooms and forums.


The Canada Council for the Arts: Endowments and Prizes

The council runs the Governor General’s Literary Awards, and thus the site offers official lists of winners from 2006 to 2001, as well as the award’s history and cumulative lists of winners and jury members. The council also administers grant and residency programs for writers, and more information about those can be found under the “Writing and Publishing” link in the upper left menu bar. This portion of the site also contains lists of large literary festivals and council-assisted reading series, which offer details about and media contacts for the events. Journalists can also access searchable lists of writers who’ve received grants and translation projects through this site.

Northwest Passage/The Governor General’s Award

Northwest Passage is an online bookstore for Canadian literature, and it retains an extensive list of winners of the Governor General’s Award dating back to 1996. The pages for the winners from 1995 to 2001 include a selection of jury comments. However, the site stops at 2001.You should be able to access the entire list by category as well as date; however, the links to the category listings are out of date or broken. But the site as a whole loads quickly, being low in graphics, and uses easily readable blue and black text on a white background.