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30 Canadian Books

To celebrate its 30th anniversary, The Canadian Encyclopedia created 30 lists of 30 things that make us proud to be Canadian, from famous people and historic events, to iconic foods and influential artists.

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Nobel Prizes and Canada

The Nobel Prizes are awarded annually for achievements that have significantly benefitted humankind. The prizes are among the highest international honours and are awarded in six categories: physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, literature, peace, and economics. They are administered by the Nobel Foundation and awarded by institutions in Sweden and Norway. Eighteen Canadians have won Nobel Prizes, excluding Canadian-born individuals who gave up their citizenship and members of organizations that have won the peace prize.

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Centennial Literature

​The 100th anniversary of Confederation in 1967 coincided with a period of self-definition and national assertion that consolidated national literary institutions and produced works that explored national identity.

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Comparative Canadian Literature

The comparative study of the Canadian literatures (which normally means writing in English and French) is of recent origin, the best work dating from the late 1960s. The linguistic situation that exists in Canada is not unlike that of other countries that practice bilingual policies (e.g., Cameroon and Belgium). The problem with language is that it often establishes zones of territoriality, rather than opening lines of communication, and in Canada this situation has profoundly inhibited the comparative study of the country's literatures.

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Anne of Green Gables

Lucy Maud Montgomery’s first novel, Anne of Green Gables (1908), became an instant bestseller and has remained in print for more than a century, making the character of Anne Shirley a mythic icon of Canadian culture. The book has sold an estimated 50 million copies worldwide, been translated into at least 36 languages, as well as braille, and been adapted more than two dozen times in various mediums. A musical version first produced by the Charlottetown Festival in 1965 is the longest running annual musical theatre production in the world, while the award-winning 1985 CBC miniseries starring Megan Follows is the most-watched television program in Canadian history. Thousands of tourists visit Prince Edward Island each year to see the “sacred sites” related to the book, and the sale of Anne-related commodities such as souvenirs and dolls has come to constitute a cottage industry.