50 IN 50

Since 1967, House of Anansi has been proud to publish books that have shaped Canadian Literature and helped define the country. From the Manual for Draft-Age Immigrants to Canada (1968), which border-patrol agents started confiscating at the U.S. border to prevent the books from reaching American colleges and universities, to De Niro’s Game (2006) by Rawi Hage, which was found in Anansi’s slush pile, here are 50 noteworthy books from Anansi’s 50 years as a publisher:

KINGDOM OF ABSENCE (1967)

Dennis Lee

"This is harsh, conscious, jaunty, ironic poetry of the mind and spirit, without fat of nature's metaphorics, without blubber of masks transcendent or masks mystic. To some extent, a small extent, it is of Toronto and even of the nation... But if you are to enjoy it you must enjoy acrobatics of the intellect above the bleak and mesmerizing net of our century." — Dave Godfrey


MANUAL FOR DRAFT-AGE IMMIGRANTS TO CANADA (1968)

Mark Satin

From the introduction: "This is your handbook. Slowly at first, and now in growing numbers, from Maine to Alabama to California, from ghettos, suburbs and schools, young Americans are coming to Canada to resist the draft."


FIVE LEGS (1969)

Graeme Gibson

First published by House of Anansi in 1969, Five Legs was a breakthrough for Canadian experimental fiction, selling 1,000 copies in its first week. At the time Scott Symons wrote that, "Five Legs has more potent writing in it, page for page, than any other young Canadian novel that I can think of." Or indeed any young American novel — including Pynchon and Farina.


LA GUERRE! YES SIR! (1970)

Roch Carrier

Vital, funny, moving and assured, La Guerre, Yes Sir! by French-Canadian writer Roch Carrier is a surrealist fable set in rural Quebec during WWI and one of the major achievements in Canadian fiction.



THE BUSH GARDEN (1971)

Northrop Frye

From the introduction: "[The Bush Garden] is a retrospective collection of some of my writings on Canadian culture, mainly literature, extending over a period of nearly 30 years.


SURVIVAL (1972)

Margaret Atwood

When first published in 1972, Survival was considered the most startling book ever written about Canadian literature. Since then, it has continued to be read and taught, and it continues to shape the way Canadians look at themselves.


THE WABENO FEAST (1973)

Wayland Drew

The Wabeno Feast is the story of boys growing up in a pulp-mill town in Northern Ontario whose lives fall apart as they become enmeshed in a destructive urban society.


BLACKOUT (1974)

Hubert Aquin

A novel within a novel that begins with the death of the main character at the outset of the novel, and an editor that presents himself within the text.



INSIDE THE EASTER EGG (1975)

Marian Engel

Inside The Easter Egg is the the first collection of short fiction by Marian Engel and features 19 readable, well-crafted stories about modern marriages, families, and love affairs.


COMING THROUGH SLAUGHTER (1976)

Michael Ondaatje

The first full-length prose work by Michael Ondaatje, Coming Through Slaughter is based on the life of Buddy Bolden, a pioneer jazz musician in turn-of-the-century New Orleans.


MYTH AND MEANING (1977)

Claude Levi Strauss

In Myth and Meaning, The 1977 CBC Massey Lectures, Claude Lévi Strauss interprets myths and discusses thier significance for human understanding.


MERMAIDS AND IKONS (1978)

Gwendolyn Macewen

Poet and novelist Gwemdolyn MacEwen explores her strongly personal responses to a complex civilization (Greece) in Mermaids and Ikons, her first non-fiction book.



THE HOCKEY SWEATER AND OTHER STORIES (1979)

Roch Carrier

The Hockey Sweater, the title story in this 20-story collection, has become an enduring classic: a Quebec boy and Habs fan is shipped a Toronto Maple Leafs sweater by mistake.


BASIC BLACK WITH PEARLS (1980)

Helen Weinzweig

In her yearning, elusive search for a lover, Shirley Kaszenbowski sheds her drab “basic black” existence together with torturous memories of guilt and loss as a Jewish immigrant in Toronto.


GRAMMAR TO GO! (1981)

Rob Colter

Grammar To Go by by Rob Colter is an indispensable grammar guide that should be in every Canadian's backpack, briefcase, or handbag.


RADICAL TORIES (1982)

Charles Taylor

In 1978, spurred on by his own curiosity and personal frustrations with the state of Canadian politics, journalist Charles Taylor began to trace the history and development of the Conservative Party in Canada, which ultimately became Radical Tories.



GLOBALISM AND THE NATION-STATE (1983)

Eric Kierans

In Globalism and The Nation State, the 1983 CBC Massey Lectures, Erik Kierans examines constitutionally governed nation states.


IN THEIR WORDS: INTERVIEWS WITH CANADIAN WRITERS (1984)

Bruce Meyer & Brian O'Riordan

Bruce Meyer and Brian O'Riordan interview fourteen well-known members of Canada's writing community in this informative and entertaining book.


LEAVING HOME (1985)

David French

The first part of what has come to be known as the Mercer Series, Leaving Home tells the story of a Newfoundland family that has emigrated and lost all sense of its place in the world.


TECHNOLOGY AND JUSTICE (1986)

George Grant

In six magnificent essays, George Grant reflects on the extent to which technology has shaped the way we live now.



ROCHDALE (1987)

David Sharpe

Rochdale ended after seven incredible years in drug raids, overdoses, and police surveillance, but it is remembered as Canadas most controversial symbol of the 1960s.


FURIOUS (1988)

Erin Mouré

The poetry in Furious is charged with Erin Moure's characteristic energy and wit as she explores the limits of pure reason and the language of power. Furious was the winner of the Governor General's Award for Poetry in 1988.


NECESSARY ILLUSIONS (1989)

Noam Chomsky

Noam Chomsky inquires into the nature of the media in a political system where the population cannot be disciplined by force and thus must be subjected to more subtle forms of ideological control.


REAL WORLD OF TECHNOLOGY (1990)

Ursula Franklin

In the 1989 CBC Massey Lectures, renowned scientist and humanitarian Ursula M. Franklin examines the impact of technology upon our lives.



MALAISE OF MODERNITY (1991)

Charles Taylor

In Malaise of Modernity, Charles Taylor focuses on the key modern concept of self-fulfillment, often attacked as the central support of what Christopher Lasch has called the culture of narcissism.


IVAN ILLICH IN CONVERSATION (1992)

David Cayley

For more than fifteen years, iconoclastic thinker Ivan Illich refused to be interviewed. Finally, in 1988, CBC's David Cayley persuaded Illich to record a conversation. This first interview led to additional sessoins that continued until 1992 and are now gathered in Ivan Illich in Conversation.


EDUCATED IMAGINATION (1993)

Northrop Frye

Written in the relaxed and frequently humorous style of his public lectures, this remains, of Northrop Frye's many books, perhaps the easiest introduction to his theories of literature and literary education.


KAMOURASKA (1994)

Anne Hébert

A classic of Canadian literature by the great Quebecoise writer, Kamouraska is based on a real nineteenth-century love-triangle in rural Quebec. Kamouraska won the Paris book prize and was made into a landmark feature film by Claude Jutra.



UNCONSCIOUS CIVILIZATION (1995)

John Ralston Saul

Our society, John Ralston Saul argues in his 1995 CBC Massey Lectures, is only superficially based on the individual and democracy.


SELECTED POEMS (1996)

Alden Nowlan

Alden Nowlan Selected Poems is for Nowlan fans and new readers alike. The poems included in this volume reflect the recurring themes that illuminate Nowlan's work, and it is truly the best of his poetry.


THESE FESTIVE NIGHTS (1997)

Marie-Claire Blais

These Festive Nights is the first volume in Marie-Claire Blais' prize-winning series acclaimed as one of the greatest undertakings in modern Quebec fiction.


QUEEN RAT (1998)

Lynn Crosbie

Lynn Crosbie brought her unique voice to the forefront of Canadian poetry with Queen Rat. Hers is a world of Shakespeare, skinheads, and centurions; and hers is a life stripped to the basics and then reconstructed with relish, every brick scrutinized meticulously.



JUST FINE (1999)

France Daigle

France Daigle's rich and witty novel journeys beyond the cultural, psychological, and literary bounds within which its characters live and leads us to where history, fantasy, and memory collide.


THIS ALL HAPPENED (2000)

Michael Winter

Told from the viewpoint of Gabriel English, This All Happened opens windows onto a richly textured, fast-paced filmic compilation of daily vignettes over one year. Gabriel’s promises and actions early in the year have their repercussions by the end.


THE MIDDLE STORIES (2001)

Sheila Heti

Balancing wisdom and innocence, joy and foreboding, Sheila Heti’s completely original stories in The Middle Stories lead you to surprising places. Heti’s stories are not what you expect, but why did you expect that anyway?


OPEN (2002)

Lisa Moore

Lisa Moore's Open makes you believe three things unequivocally: that St. John's is the centre of the universe, that these stories are about absolutely everything, that the only certainty in life comes from the accumulation of moments which refuse to be contained.



TRUTH ABOUT STORIES (2003)

Thomas King

Beginning with a traditional Native oral story, King weaves his way through literature and history, religion and politics, popular culture and social protest, gracefully elucidating North America's relationship with its Native peoples.


A SHORT HISTORY OF PROGRESS (2004)

Ronald White

Each time history repeats itself, so it's said, the price goes up. In A Short History of Progress Ronald Wright argues that our modern predicament is as old as civilization, a 10,000-year experiment we have participated in but seldom controlled.


RACE AGAINST TIME (2005)

Stephen Lewis

"I have spent the last four years watching people die." With these wrenching words, diplomat and humanitarian Stephen Lewis opens his 2005 CBC Massey Lectures.


DE NIRO'S GAME (2006)

Rawi Hage

De Niro's Game is a beautiful, explosive portrait of a contemporary young man shaped by a lifelong experience of war. Rawi Hage's brilliant style mimics a world gone mad: so smooth and apparently sane that its razor-sharp edges surprise and cut deeply. A powerful meditation on life and death in a war zone, and what comes after.



THE OUTLANDER (2007)

Gil Adamson

In 1903 a mysterious, desperate young woman flees alone across the west, one quick step ahead of the law. She has just become a widow by her own hand.


PAYBACK (2008)

Margaret Atwood

Margaret Atwood gives us a surprising look at the topic of debt -- a timely subject during our current period of economic upheaval, caused by the collapse of a system of interlocking debts.


PIGEON (2009)

Karen Solie

These poems are X-rays of our delusions and mistaken perceptions, explorations of violence, bad luck, fate, creeping catastrophe, love, and the eros of danger.


ANNABEL (2010)

Kathleen Winter

Haunting, sweeping in scope, and stylistically reminiscent of Jeffrey Eugenides' Middlesex, Annabel is a compelling tale about one person's struggle to discover the truth about their birth and self in a culture that shuns contradiction.



THE SISTERS BROTHERS (2011)

Patrick deWitt

Patrick DeWitt doffs his hat to the classic Western, and then transforms it into a comic tour-de-force with an unforgettable narrative voice that captures all the absurdity, melancholy, and grit of the West.


KIM'S CONVENIENCE (2012)

Ins Choi

Wholly original, hysterically funny, and deeply moving, Kim's Convenience tells the story of one Korean family struggling to face the future amidst the bitter memories of their past.


HELLGOING (2013)

Lynn Coady

With astonishing range and depth, Scotiabank Giller Prize winner Lynn Coady gives us nine unforgettable stories, each one of them grabbing our attention from the first line and resonating long after the last.


DRAGON HEAD OF HONG KONG (2014)

Ian Hamilton

The prequel to the Ava Lee series. Ava goes to Hong Kong, where she plunges into the dangerous underground collection business and meets a man who will forever change her life . . .



THE OUTSIDE CIRCLE (2015)

Patti LaBoucane-Benson & Kelly Mellings

The Outside Circle is drawn from the author’s twenty years of work and research on healing and reconciliation of gang-affiliated or incarcerated Aboriginal men.


IN-BETWEEN DAYS (2016)

Teva Harrison

Teva Harrison was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer at the age of 37. In this brilliant and inspiring graphic memoir, she documents through comic illustration and short personal essays what it means to live with the disease.