The writers of Western Canada are inspired by the natural landscape around them: mountains, prairies, oceans, and forests, to name some of our most celebrated geographical landmarks. Being so surrounded by nature allows for nature itself to become a living, breathing character all its own – one that informs the richness of the people that inhabit its spaces both fictional and otherwise.
With picturesque cities such as Banff, Alberta, and Victoria, BC, at their doorstep, Canadian authors can’t help but be overcome with a sense of adventure. Canada’s literary voice is therefore filled with a wonder, curiosity, and playfulness that comes from writers with a desire to explore – whether through hiking, canoeing, mountaineering, or even trekking through urban landscapes – in their blood. With that sense of wanderlust comes optimism, and Canadian writers have a talent for finding the good in even the most dire situations. Their stories are often bittersweet and full of warmth, inviting hope, no matter the subject matter.
The sheer vastness of Canada’s natural features gives its writers a sense of belonging to something much bigger. That infinite stretch of ocean, that spread of hundreds of indigenous pines, that expanse of mountains, can remind anyone of being a small part within the grand scheme of things. Though each individual contributes to a collective Canadian voice, they each have their own stories to tell that set them apart. Something so small still finds ways to make its mark.
The collective Canadian voice helps to shape Canadian identity, and is further bolstered by the diversity brought by different cultures that come to Canada from far and wide. Wherever their origins, Canadians have a strong pride of place based in where they’ve been, and where they’re going. Their stories are deeply rooted in their history, always aware of how it’s shaped their present. Not only are Canadian writers proud of their collective past, they are protective and critical of it too, particularly when it comes to the country’s colonial past, treatment of Indigenous peoples, and the ongoing journey of healing and Reconciliation. Both Indigenous writers, who have been here from the beginning, and newcomers from all corners of the world have defined the Canadian collective conscience and built up its literary traditions to what they are today.
Independent Canadian publishers love what they do because it allows them to bring these voices to the forefront. With large multinational publishers dominating the international publishing industry, many Canadian writers rely on the expertise and tenacity of independent publishers to help them stand out from the crowd. Canadian-owned publishers have the power to leave a legacy, knowing that these stories will one day outlive us all. The Frankfurt Book Fair gives these publishers an opportunity to share that Canadian legacy with the rest of the world, whether in literary fiction, poetry, speculative fiction, or non-fiction and history.
The BPAA and ABPBC hope you are inspired by these titles and support the Canadian publishers in their endeavour to expand their reach beyond North American borders.