Canada is a fertile ground for scribes, and Manitoba has produced some of Can-Lit’s most unique voices. Since we're all currently making our way through our reading list as we stay home, check out four of Manitoba’s most prolific authors!

Miriam Toews, Prairie novelist extraordinaire

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“I hope that people will recognize that there are aspects of it that I really love and really miss.”

Miriam Toews grew up in Steinbach, a town southeast of Winnipeg. Toews mines the town’s Mennonite heritage for many of her novels, including her best-seller A Complicated Kindness.

Carol Shields, Winnipeg’s fiction queen

Carol Shields

“You have all these intersecting networks of people. It’s one of the things I loved about (Winnipeg) right away when I moved there…”

The Stone Diaries is American-born, Winnipeg-based author Carol Shields’ most well-known novel. The fictional autobiography of Daisy Flett won a US. Pulitzer Prize and the Canadian Governor General’s Award for fiction. But it’s Shield’s novel Republic of Love that captures the essence of life in Winnipeg. In it, characters Tom and Fay muddle through the pitfalls and peaks of finding modern love after divorce.

Gabrielle Roy, Franco-Canadian star scribe

“They used to call Saint-Boniface “the Saint” or the cathedral city because of its resistance movement. You could also call it a city with a soul.”

Gabrielle Roy, who lived and taught in St. Boniface for the first 30 years of her life, is considered the most widely read Franco-Canadian writer. She worked as a freelance reporter, a member of a theatre troupe and a teacher before finding her true calling as a writer. Her novel Bonheur d’occasion (The Tin Flute) was published in 1945 and won critical and popular acclaim. 

Margaret Laurence, pride of Neepawa

Margaret Laurence

“The town of my childhood could be called bizarre, agonizingly repressive or cruel at times… But never merely flat or uninteresting. Never dull.”

Margaret Laurence is one of Canada’s seminal writers. Her most famous novel The Stone Angel took place in Manawaka, a fictional village based on her hometown Neepawa. The novel’s heroine, 90-year-old Hagar Shipley, looks back on her life as a wife and mother in this powerful and evocative tale about marriage, motherhood and aging. In real life, Neepawa is a picturesque town of 4,000 people two hours west of Winnipeg.