Prizing Literature: The Celebration and Circulation of National Culture
When Canadian authors win prestigious literary prizes, from the Governor General's Literary Award to the Man Booker Prize, they are celebrated not only for their achievements, but also for contributing to this country's cultural capital. Discussions about culture, national identity, and citizenship are particularly complicated when the honorees are immigrants, like Michael Ondaatje, Carol Shields, or Rohinton Mistry. Then there is the case of Yann Martel, who is identified both as Canadian and as rootlessly cosmopolitan. How have these writers' identities been recalibrated in order to claim them as 'representative' Canadians?