Hugh MacLennan

Hugh MacLennan's Two Solitudes will be defended by Jay Baruchel for Canada Reads 2013.



Hugh MacLennan was born in 1907 in Glace Bay, Nova Scotia. He was the first major English-speaking Canadian writer to attempt to portray the country's national character in fiction. A Rhodes scholar, MacLennan attended Oxford University and received a PhD from Princeton, the Ivy League school in New Jersey. He returned to Canada in the 1930s to teach and write.


His first published novel, Barometer Rising, was released in 1941 and was about the 1917 Halifax Explosion. In 1945, he published Two Solitudes, which won the Governor General's Award for fiction that year. His books helped usher in a new, self-reflective age of Canadian literature, establishing the idea that Canada is a place worth writing about.


Over the course of his illustrious career, Hugh McLennan wrote nine books, of both fiction and non-fiction, and won the Governor General's Award five times (three times for fiction and twice for non-fiction). He taught in the English department of McGill University for 30 years.