4 Books Inspired by Newfoundland and Labrador

At the most easterly point in North America, you'll find a treasure trove of talented writers. Some are local, some from abroad, and some from parts unknown. What brought them all here? There are a few theories kicking around out there: some say it’s the incredible sweeping landscapes that blanket this vast province. Others seem to think it's the first signs of life discovered at Mistaken Point. While others point to the Vikings, who much like the writers, found themselves on these ancient shores by chance so many years ago.

No one can be certain what brought them here; luckily for us, we can still enjoy the fruits of their labour. Below are four books to get lost in before finding yourself here:

The Colony of Unrequited Dreams

1. The Colony of Unrequited Dreams, Wayne Johnston.

Although technically fiction, this is a mesmerizing tale of Canadian and Newfoundland and Labrador's history as well of its first Premier, Joey Smallwood. The writing captures a certain melancholy and nostalgia around the possibility for the future.


2. Sweetland, Michael Crummey.

This fictional story is set on a remote island somewhere in eastern Canada. It’s a painful personal tale of resilience and resettlement analogous to the organized resettlement programs of the 1950s and 1960s in Newfoundland and Labrador.


3. Eiriksdottir, Joan Clark.

For the Vikings who crossed the ocean to Vinland, the place was part destination and part mythological. Their final voyage, led by Freydis Eiriksdottir, the enigmatic daughter of the renegade Eirik the Red, is shrouded in mystery. Of the two ships that set out from Greenland, why did only one return from the fabled new-found land?

As Near to Heaven by Sea

4. As Near to Heaven by Sea, Kevin Major.

The history of Newfoundland and Labrador is full of intrigue and disaster, courage, scandal, and imagination. The Viking landings, the exploits of Basque whalers, centuries of military and religious strife, confederation with Canada, and the collapse of the fisheries – all are brought to life in exciting, vivid prose.

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