Reading Women with Bridget Canning

In honour of International Women’s Day, we invited some of our authors to tell us why reading books by women is important and to share some of their favourite books by women with us.

Our third featured author is Bridget Canning. Bridget Canning’s debut novel, The Greatest Hits of Wanda Jaynes, was published with Breakwater Books in April, 2017 and selected as a finalist for the BMO Winterset Award, the Margaret and John Savage First Book (Fiction) Award, and the IPPY Award for Best Fiction, Canada East. She was raised on a sheep farm in Highlands, Newfoundland and currently lives in St. John’s where she is busy working on an MA in Creative Writing at Memorial University.

The Greatest Hits of Wanda Jaynes is one of four books selected for the first ever Read Local Month at Nova Scotia public libraries. Read more about the Read Local Month initiative here.

IWD2019_Bridget Canning
Bridget Canning on Reading Women

Why read women?

It’s frustrating to answer this question because it’s frustrating to feel that we still need to ask it. Do we really have to explain the importance of the point of view of half the population? Do we really have to explain the importance of reading work that includes a broad range of human experience? Have women not proven their worth as storytellers?

I feel there isn’t (or shouldn’t be) “writing” and “women’s writing.” Women writers should not be expected to create only work to be marketed in shades of pink and frilly, resigned to a special corner of bookstores. And we shouldn’t approach the work of writers who aren’t cis male, white, and straight as a fringe market, like something only to be consumed by the kind of people who create it.

To answer this question myself, I read the work of women for the same reason I write. I’m interested in complex female characters who are represented as fully human, with all the flaws, vices, strengths, and vast potential we all possess in reality.

Favourite Books

I’m very drawn to both reading and writing very character driven work – below are three of my favourites and happen to be written by women.

Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl
The character of Blue is so rich and wonderful as a person who has lived with few connections other than books and film. Blue processes new information in a kind of bibliographic way – connecting everything to her vast knowledge which is so limited in her personal isolation.

Antarctica by Claire Keegan
I met Claire Keegan at the Sparks Literary Festival this year and immediately devoured her collection of short stories. She picks you up and puts you there. That’s the best way I can describe it.

Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh
One of my favourite books from childhood which I feel inspired me to write. As Harriet collects her observations in her notebook during her “spying”, she is learning to see and write in her own voice.

From March 8th – 12th, take 20% off all books by our female authors in-store and online.

Enter promo code: WOMENSDAY2019