Famous Canadian Writers

Canada is a home to people of diverse ethnicity and origin. Influence of the diversified culture is even visible in their literature, which is inspired by the nationalist themes. Comprising a wide range of literary genres, the country has produced many famous writers. The works of these writers on many occasions have brought out the cultural and social tiff among the English and French speaking Canadian natives. The novels of Prix Goncourt winner Antonine Maillet and Roch Carrier brought the Canadian literature to limelight after the Second World War. Stephen Leacock’s ‘Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town’ depicts the small town life of the country. Nicole Brossard whose works conformed to the Formalism school of literature was a great poet of the post-World War era. The late 20th to 21st century saw the rise of writers like Norman Levine, Michael Ondaatje and Margaret Atwood. More recently, Alice Munro won the Nobel Prize for Literature and the Man Booker International Prize. To know more about the life stores, career, profile and timelines of famous Canadian writers explore our collection of biographies. Not only will you find their inspiring life stories but you can also learn some interesting facts and trivia related to these personalities in the narrative.

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

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 1 Margaret Atwood

Margaret Atwood
20
Famous As: Writer, Environmental Activist
Birthdate: November 18, 1939
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Margaret Atwood is a Canadian poet and novelist. Her works encompass themes, such as religion and myth, climate change, and gender and identity. An award-winning writer, many of Atwood's works have been made into films and television series; her work, The Handmaid's Tale, has had several adaptations. Perhaps, Margaret Atwood's most important contribution is her invention of the LongPen device.

 2 Avan Jogia

Avan Jogia
4
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: February 9, 1992
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Vancouver, Canada

Avan Jogia is a Canadian actor and singer. He gained recognition with his performance in the American biographical TV film A Girl Like Me. Also an activist, Jogia co-founded Straight But Not Narrow, a non-profit organization which aims at changing the viewpoints of straight people about the LGBTQ community. Not surprisingly, he is loved and respected within the LGBT community.

 3 Antoni Porowski

Antoni Porowski
5
Famous As: Television Personality
Birthdate: March 14, 1984
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Antoni Porowski is a Polish-Canadian TV personality, actor, author, and chef. He served as the food and wine expert in the Netflix series Queer Eye. He is a graduate of the Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre. He is a self-taught cook. He was named the Sexiest Reality Star on People's annual list in 2019.

 4 Robert Herjavec

Robert Herjavec
4
Famous As: Business People
Birthdate: September 14, 1962
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Varaždin, Croatia
Investor Robert Herjavec founded the internet security software BRAK Systems, which he later sold to AT&T. He also established the Herjavec Group and turned it into one of Canada’s biggest IT security firms. He has also appeared in Dragons' Den and Shark Tank, and has authored several business books.

 5 Steve-O

Steve-O
5
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: June 13, 1974
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Wimbledon, London

British-born American comedian and TV personality, Steve-O, gained international fame with his performance stunts in the TV series Jackass. Following a nomadic childhood, he graduated from the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Clown College and began his career as a clown. He eventually started appearing on TV shows and became popular.

 6 Katherine Ryan

Katherine Ryan
4
Famous As: Comedian, Actress
Birthdate: June 30, 1983
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Sarnia, Ontario, Canada

 7 Denis Villeneuve

Denis Villeneuve
4
Famous As: Film Director, Screenwriter, Playwright
Birthdate: October 3, 1967
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Trois-Rivières, Quebec, Canada

Known for directing critically acclaimed movies, such as Arrival and Blade Runner 2049, Denis Villeneuve was adjudged Filmmaker of the Decade in 2019 by the Hollywood Critics Association. One of the most popular and respected filmmakers of the current generation, Denis Villeneuve's films have had a major impact all over the world.

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 8 Lucy Maud Montgomery

Lucy Maud Montgomery
4
Famous As: Author
Birthdate: November 30, 1874
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Clifton, Prince Edward Island
Died: April 24, 1942
Canadian author Lucy Maud Montgomery is best remembered for her iconic novel Anne of Green Gables and its sequels. She had also authored countless short stories, poems, and essays. Most of her novels are set in her native Prince Edward Island. She was honored with the OBE.
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 9 James Randi

James Randi
4
Famous As: Stage magician
Birthdate: August 7, 1928
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Died: October 20, 2020

World renowned stage magician James Randi, better known by his stage name, The Amazing Randi, had been drawn to magic while recovering from a bicycle accident. He later dropped out of high school to become a road magician. He is also fond of debunking theories of paranormal activity.

 10 William Gibson

William Gibson
6
Famous As: Fiction Writer
Birthdate: March 17, 1948
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Conway, South Carolina, United States

William Gibson is an American-Canadian essayist and speculative fiction writer. He is widely credited with pioneering cyberpunk, a science fiction subgenre. His early works, which he produced during the late-1970s and early-1980s, helped create an iconography for the information age even before the dawn of the Internet in the 1990s. William Gibson is also credited with coining the term cyberspace.

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 11 Jane Jacobs

Jane Jacobs
4
Famous As: Journalist
Birthdate: May 4, 1916
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Scranton, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: April 25, 2006

American-Canadian journalist Jane Jacobs is best known for her book The Death and Life of Great American Cities. A specialist in urban culture and its issues, she was one of the few women who excelled in a male-dominated field. The Vincent Scully Prize winner was initially scorned at as a housewife.

 12 Charles Krauthammer

Charles Krauthammer
7
Famous As: Columnist
Birthdate: March 13, 1950
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: New York City, New York, USA
Died: June 21, 2018

Best known for his Pulitzer Prize-winning column in The Washington Post, Fox News commentator and political expert Charles Krauthammer was also a qualified psychiatrist. He was rendered paralyzed from the waist down at 22, after an accident while studying medicine at Harvard, but completed his degree nevertheless.

 13 Meg Tilly

Meg Tilly
4
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: February 14, 1960
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Long Beach, California, USA

Meg Tilly is an actress best known for her role in the drama mystery film Agnes of God, for which she was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. She began her career as a dancer and eventually took up acting roles. She loves to write as a hobby and is the author of many novels. 

 14 Paul Shaffer

Paul Shaffer
5
Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: November 28, 1949
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada

Best known as the band leader in Late Night with David Letterman and the Late Show with David Letterman, Paul Shaffer is a Grammy Award-winning Canadian multi-instrumentalist and singer. He co-wrote the 1980s’ hit It's Raining Men sung by the Weather Girls and later revived by Geri Halliwell.

 15 Andrea Martin

Andrea Martin
5
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: January 15, 1947
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Portland, Maine, USA

American-Canadian actor Andrea Martin is best known for her roles in movies such as My Big Fat Greek Wedding. She has also won Tony and Drama Desk awards for her performances in plays such as My Favorite Year and Pippin. Her one-woman show Nude, Nude, Totally Nude was a hit.

 16 Pattie Mallette

Pattie Mallette
4
Famous As: Author, Producer
Birthdate: April 2, 1975
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Stratford, Ontario, Canada

Pattie Mallette is a Canadian author and film producer. She had a difficult childhood marked by sexual abuse. She began her career as a child and appeared in many TV shows and stage productions. She became pregnant when she was 18. Her son is the popular singer Justin Bieber. She also managed his early career. 

 17 Naomi Klein

Naomi Klein
4
Famous As: Author
Birthdate: May 8, 1970
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Canadian author, social activist, and filmmaker Naomi Klein is known for her criticism of corporate globalization and capitalism. She became internationally known following the release of her alter-globalization book No Logo. She often appears on global and national lists of top influential thinkers and is the recipient of the 2016 Sydney Peace Prize. She is a prominent environmentalist as well.

 18 James Doohan

James Doohan
4
Famous As: Screenwriter, Television actor, Film actor, Actor, Novelist, Science fiction writer
Birthdate: March 3, 1920
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Vancouver
Died: July 20, 2005

Canadian actor James Doohan was initially a soldier in the Canadian army and had even sustained injuries in World War II. He later soared to fame with his Saturn Award-nominated role of Montgomery Scott in the Star Trek film and TV franchise. He also voiced the character in various video games.

 19 Chrystia Freeland

Chrystia Freeland
5
Famous As: Deputy Prime Minister of Canada
Birthdate: August 2, 1968
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Peace River, Alberta, Canada
Known as the Minister of Everything, Christina Freeland is Canada’s 10th deputy prime minister. She is also Canada’s finance minister and the first woman to hold the office. She has previously worked with the Financial Times, Thomson Reuters, and The Globe and Mail. She has also authored a bestselling book. 

 20 Gavin McInnes

Gavin McInnes
9
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: July 17, 1970
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Hitchin, Hertfordshire, England

Described as a far-right, writer and political commentator Gavin McInnes is said to be anti-Islam, anti-Semitism and a racist. He has also been accused of inciting violence. He is the founder of ‘Proud Boys’, dubbed an extremist group with links to white nationalism. In 2018, he was banned from Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for promoting hate speech.

 21 John Kenneth Galbraith

John Kenneth Galbraith
3
Famous As: Economist
Birthdate: October 15, 1908
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Iona Station, Canada
Died: April 29, 2006

John Kenneth Galbraith was an intellectual, diplomat, economist, and public official. One of the most influential exponents of 20th-century American liberalism, Galbraith published many books concerning the American economy. Galbraith is one of the few individuals to be honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Medal of Freedom. He also received 50 honorary degrees from various institutions.

 22 David Brooks

David Brooks
4
Famous As: Journalist
Birthdate: August 11, 1961
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Toronto

David Brooks is a Canadian-born American conservative political commentator. Having worked with popular publications like The Washington Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Weekly Standard, and Newsweek, Brooks is currently contributing as a writer for The New York Times. Also an educator, David Brooks has taught at prestigious institutions like the Sanford School of Public Policy and Yale University.

 23 Phan Thi Kim Phuc

Phan Thi Kim Phuc
4
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: April 2, 1963
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Trảng Bàng

Phan Thi Kim Phuc is a South Vietnamese-born Canadian woman. As a nine-year-old child, she was captured in a photograph taken during the Vietnam War, in which she is shown running naked on a road following a napalm attack. It took her a long time to recover from her injuries. As an adult, she is a peace activist.  

 24 Saul Rubinek

Saul Rubinek
4
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: July 2, 1948
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Föhrenwald, Wolfratshausen, Bavaria, Germany

Saul Rubinek is a German-born Canadian actor, director, and playwright. Encouraged to pursue acting by his parents, he enrolled at the Ottawa Little Theatre. After a successful Broadway career, he branched out to TV shows and films as well. He made his directorial debut with the black comedy film Jerry and Tom, earning a Sundance Film Festival award nomination. 

 25 Alice Munro

Alice Munro
4
Birthdate: July 10, 1931
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Wingham, Ontario, Canada

Her mother’s struggle with Parkinson's disease pushed Alice Munro into reading as an escape route. Munro later became a housewife, but soon soared to fame for her short story collections such as Too Much Happiness. The Canadian author later won the Nobel Prize and the Man Booker Prize, too.

 26 Paul Haggis

Paul Haggis
4
Famous As: Screenwriter, Film producer, Film director
Birthdate: March 10, 1953
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: London

 27 Jay Silverheels

Jay Silverheels
5
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: May 26, 1912
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Six Nations Reservation, Brantford, Ontario, Canada
Died: March 5, 1980

Indigenous Canadian actor Jay Silverheels gained international popularity for playing Tonto, the Native American companion of the protagonist in the American western TV series The Lone Ranger. As a young man, he excelled in athletics and became a lacrosse player. He later quit sports to pursue acting. He bred and raced Standardbred horses as a hobby. 

 28 Robin Sharma

Robin Sharma
4
Famous As: Writer, Public Speaker
Birthdate: June 16, 1964
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Port Hawkesbury

Canadian writer Robin Sharma is best known for his The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari book series. A qualified lawyer, he is an alumnus of the Schulich School of Law at Dalhousie University. He has published several books on stress management and spirituality. He is the founder of the training company Sharma Leadership International.

 29 Lois Maxwell

Lois Maxwell
4
Famous As: Actor, Writer
Birthdate: February 14, 1927
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Kitchener
Died: September 29, 2007

 30 Harland Williams

Harland Williams
4
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: November 14, 1962
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

 31 Morley Safer

Morley Safer
4
Famous As: War correspondent, Television presenter, Journalist, Writer
Birthdate: November 8, 1931
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Toronto
Died: May 19, 2016

Morley Safer was a Canadian-American journalist and correspondent for CBS News. He is best remembered for his tenure on the popular television news broadcast 60 Minutes. Safer is credited with contributing to the success of 60 Minutes, which is the most profitable and most-watched program in television history. During his 60-year career, Morley Safer received several awards including 12 Emmys.

 32 Mark Steyn

Mark Steyn
4
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: December 8, 1959
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Canadian author Mark Steyn is best known for his bestselling books such as America Alone and After America. A political commentator and critic, too, he has been in the news for his controversial comments on the LGBT community. He has also hosted Fox shows such as Tucker Carlson Tonight.

 33 Jian Ghomeshi

Jian Ghomeshi
5
Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: June 9, 1967
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: London, England, UK

Multi-dimensional Persian-Canadian musical artist and broadcaster Jian Ghomeshi is best known for his CBC show Q. Part of the folk-rock group Moxy Früvous, he has also launched a few podcasts. He was dragged into a sexual assault controversy, involving multiple charges, but was later acquitted of all charges.

 34 Win Butler

Win Butler
5
Famous As: Songwriter, Singer, Composer, Poet, Guitarist
Birthdate: April 14, 1980
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Truckee, California, United States

Win Butler is an American-Canadian multi-instrumentalist, musician, singer, and songwriter. He is credited with co-founding the popular Canadian indie rock band, Arcade Fire. Also a humanitarian, Butler contributed to a charity record named Do They Know It's Hallowe'en as part of a UNICEF benefit project. A multi-talented personality, Win Butler often participates in the NBA All-Star Celebrity Game.

 35 Lisa Jakub

Lisa Jakub
4
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: December 27, 1978
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Toronto, Canada

 36 David Frum

David Frum
5
Famous As: Journalist
Birthdate: June 30, 1960
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

 37 Michael Ondaatje

Michael Ondaatje
3
Famous As: Canadian poet
Birthdate: September 12, 1943
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Colombo

Michael Ondaatje is a Sri Lankan-born Canadian poet, writer, and filmmaker. Born in Sri Lanka, he eventually migrated to Canada. He studied at Bishop's University and embarked on a teaching career. His literary works include poems, novels, and essays. He is the recipient of multiple prestigious awards, including the Giller Prize and the Booker Prize. 

 38 Rupi Kaur

Rupi Kaur
12
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: October 4, 1992
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Hoshiarpur,Punjab, India Punjab, India

Rupi Kaur is an Indian-born Canadian poet, photographer, illustrator, and author. Born in India, she moved to Canada at an early age. She began performing in 2009 and gained international fame through her Instagram posts. She often explores her South Asian identity and femininity in her work. Her latest poetry collection, Home Body, released in 2020, was a resounding success. 

 39 Keegan Connor Tracy

Keegan Connor Tracy
5
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: December 3, 1971
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Windsor, Ontario Windsor, Ontario, Canada

 40 Erving Goffman

Erving Goffman
4
Famous As: Sociologist
Birthdate: June 11, 1922
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Mannville, Alberta, Canada
Died: November 20, 1982

Canadian-American sociologist, social-psychologist and writer Erving Goffman, regarded as the most influential American sociologist of the 20th century by some, is best-known for his study of symbolic interaction and development of his dramaturgical analysis. His book The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life was the first that treated face-to-face interaction as a subject of sociological study.

 41 Louise Penny

Louise Penny
5
Famous As: Novelist, Writer
Birthdate: July 1, 1958
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Toronto, Canada
Once a CBC journalist, Louise Penny is now an award-winning mystery writer. Her bestselling Armand Gamache series of novels have been published in over 20 languages. The five-time Agatha Award-winning author has also launched an award for budding Canadian mystery writers. She had met her husband on a blind date.

 42 Leonard Cohen

Leonard Cohen
6
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: September 21, 1934
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Westmount
Died: November 7, 2016

Leonard Cohen was one of the most popular Canadian celebrities of all time. After starting his career as a poet and novelist, Leonard went on to become a famous singer-songwriter, exploring themes like sexuality, religion, depression, and romantic relationships in his work. Leonard Cohen was one of the inspirations for Steven Clark and Matthew Bissonnette's 2002 film Looking for Leonard.

 43 Paul Hellyer

Paul Hellyer
3
Famous As: Politician, Ufologist, Writer
Birthdate: August 6, 1923
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Waterford, Ontario

 44 Justine Musk

Justine Musk
9
Famous As: Author, Elon Musk’s Ex-wife
Birthdate: September 2, 1972
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Peterborough

Ex-wife of business magnet Elon Musk, Justine Musk is a Canadian author most recognised for her contemporary fantasy novel, BloodAngel. She wrote two more books Uninvited and Lord of Bones, both of which were appreciated. A Queen’s University graduate, she was employed as an English teacher in Japan before she moved back to US and later married Elon Musk.

 45 Diana Hart

Diana Hart
3
Famous As: Model, Writer
Birthdate: October 8, 1963
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 46 Yann Martel

Yann Martel
3
Famous As: Writer, Novelist, Screenwriter
Birthdate: June 25, 1963
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Salamanca

Canadian author Yann Martel gained international fame with his Booker Prize-winning novel Life of Pi, which was later made into an Oscar-winning movie. Born to a diplomat and poet father, Martel lived in places such as Spain and France in childhood and worked odd jobs before he began writing.

 47 Anna Silk

Anna Silk
3
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: January 31, 1974
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada

 48 Dave Foley

Dave Foley
4
Famous As: Actor, Stand-up Comedian
Birthdate: January 4, 1963
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Etobicoke, Ontario, Canada

 49 David Shore

David Shore
3
Famous As: Film director, Screenwriter, Film producer, Writer, Lawyer
Birthdate: July 3, 1959
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: London

 50 Margaret Trudeau

Margaret Trudeau
6
Famous As: Author, Actress
Birthdate: September 10, 1948
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Vancouver, Canada