About Carte Blanche

Canadian Authors Present Their Favourite German Books

What do Joseph Boyden and Patrick Süskind have in common? How does Madeleine Thien relate to Hannah Arendt’s writings?

In our ongoing efforts to connect the art scenes in Canada and Germany, we asked prominent Canadian authors to present their “favourite German book” to our visitors and readers. The result was a collection of personal appreciations of favourite or most important or loved or most influential books.

Some names you might expect – Thomas Mann? –, some titles you might not – Mann’s Tonio Kröger? The authors chose a whole gamut of works – novels, novellas, essay collections, biographies, male and female writers, modern classics and contemporary, new discoveries or old-time favourites, best-sellers and philosophical works.

Most of the Canadian authors we have invited into this project have some connection with Germany (reading tours, book fair visits) or German culture, like David Bezmozgis and Ricci, who have taken part in Goethe-Institut Toronto events with German authors.

What we asked was: How did your chosen book impact you? Where did you pick it up? What attracted you initially? Did it turn out to be a surprising or challenging read? Did you come across it by chance or did you always mean to read this book?

“Carte Blanche” is about connections and surprises, about personal impressions, and about how (and why) writers explore different literatures. The authors’ biographies, select bibliographies and related links on this cross-cultural and bilingual portal invite you to investigate further, to explore parallels and differences, to delve into their respective worlds. We hope that these stories behind the stories will entice you to pick up our Canadian and German writers’ books!

The web project "Carte Blanche" was created at the Goethe-Institut Toronto as a platform to foster an ongoing Canadian-German literary exchange and dialogue.

We would like to thank each and every author for their personal appreciations as well as all publishers for their kind cooperation. Thanks for his assistance to Stefan Mesch (Creative Writing and Cultural Journalism, University of Hildesheim).