Literary News: Extraordinary Canadians

Today marks the official launch of Extraordinary Canadians, a series of biographies featuring prominent Canadians put out by Penguin Group Canada. The first three of the twenty biographies to be released (with the rest to follow over the next three years) offer a glimpse into the life of a painter, a feminist, and a press baron: Emily Carr by Lewis DeSoto, Nellie McClung by Charlotte Gray, and Lord Beaverbrook by David Adams Richards.

The series is edited by John Ralston Saul, who has pulled together a team of writers one could argue are just as well-known as the subjects of their biographies. It’s hoped that the books, all of which will be 224 pages or less in the spirit of keeping the subjects accessible, will be followed by a series of documentaries later in 2008.

The other subjects and their biographers:

Rudy Wiebe on Big Bear
Adrienne Clarkson on Norman Bethune
Vincent Lam on Tommy Douglas
Mark Kingwell on Glenn Gould
Andrew Cohen on Lester B. Pearson
John Ralston Saul on Louis-Hippolyte LaFontaine and Robert Baldwin
André Pratte on Sir Wilfrid Laurier
Margaret MacMillan on Stephen Leacock
Daniel Poliquin on René Lévesque
Douglas Coupland on Marshall McLuhan
Jane Urquhart on Lucy Maud Montgomery
M.G. Vassanji on Mordecai Richler
Joseph Boyden on Louis Riel and Gabriel Dumont
Nino Ricci on Pierre Trudeau

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