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  • Tanis Browning-Shelp

O Canada

In high school, Atwood's novels, short stories, and poetry could keep me up past 2:00 a.m. on a school night...


When my publisher Dog-Eared Books asked me about my favourite Canadian author for a special Canada Day post, I began with a disclaimer: “You’ll think I’m jumping on the bandwagon along with fans of the hit web television series The Handmaid’s Tale to say that Margaret Atwood is my favourite Canadian Author.” I knew it might sound cliché to choose Atwood in this context too, but I stressed that that’s just too bad, because it’s the out-and-out truth!

In high school, Atwood's novels, short stories, and poetry could keep me up past 2:00 a.m. on a school night, my flashlight trained on her words beneath my covers where I stifled whoops of laughter at her bizarre situations and images. Just like young readers who lined up for the newest Harry Potter releases, I queued up early one morning for my hardcover copy of Cat’s Eye. (Atwood was coming to Western for a reading and book signing.) I still get goosebumps as I smooth my hand over her signature and relive that evening. I continue to read and re-read Atwood’s work for its scathing humour, feminism, Canadian settings, unforgettable characters, haunting/disturbing visions, and hope.

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