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Literary Arts Overview

Although Alberta began as a province in 1905, the region has been written about and home to writers for much longer. In The Literary History of Alberta, critic and publisher George Melnyk notes that Writing-On-Stone Provincial Park is the site of numerous wall pictographs that depict centuries of the Blackfoot history. While the dates of the etchings vary, many predate the arrival of Europeans and extend our understanding of Alberta well into the past.

Writing-on-Stone Provincial ParkAs more traders, explorers and settlers arrived, so did literature that attempted to capture the rugged and exciting life the "frontiers" offered. Even the government entered into the literary fold with writings that encouraged more settlers to come and farm the area.

Book CoverWhat a long way literature in Alberta has come. Today, Alberta is home to Governor General Award-winning novelists, poets and publishers, all striving to express the Alberta perspective to the world. In an attempt to capture the many different aspects of Alberta's constantly growing literary scene, this site provides profiles of Albertan novelists, poets, historians and critics. In addition, thanks to the CKUA Sound Archives, we have included over 500 hours of arts and culture programming, allowing Alberta's artists to tell their own stories. Alongside the featured writers, this site will showcase the groups and organizations who serve the literary community.

Calgary's First LibraryThe writing being done in Alberta covers a wide range of topics and this site will allow you to learn more about the various disciplines, or genres, literary artists use to explore the world. From the wild worlds of speculative fiction to literary criticism, and tomes of history being written in non-fiction, the literature emerging from this province is quite diverse.

Writing in Alberta has moved from documenting the landscape to imagining the unknown. From award-winning historians, to the many of best-selling novelists, Alberta's literary community is as exciting and diverse as anything imagined by even the avant-garde poets who call this province home.

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