Lynn Coady is a celebrated writer who graduated from Carleton with a Bachelor in English and Philosophy in 1993. She earned a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from the University of British Columbia in 1996. The author of six books, she has been called “one of the most respected younger writers in Canada” by The Globe and Mail.
In 2013, the Cape Breton, N.S., native won the $50,000 Scotiabank Giller Prize for her short-story collection Hellgoing. The collection bested titles by Toronto based Dennis Bock, Toronto native Craig Davidson, Lisa Moore of St. John’s and German-born Canadian Dan Vyleta. She was also shortlisted for the Giller in 2011 for her novel The Antagonist.
Coady’s writing employs subtle use of language, unique style and creative development of plot and narrative. Critic Jeet Heer has praised Coady for her “shrewd examination of the underexplored byways of human psychology, including the twisty road that connects a religious upbringing with outré erotic experimentation.”
“My time at Carleton pursuing a double major in English and Philosophy was essential to my development as a writer,” said Coady. “I craved and needed a baseline sense of the texts, stories and ideas that had shaped Western culture and, for the first time in my life, I felt granted the time and permission to think deeply about literature.
“I still remember the mental electrification I experienced studying Shakespeare, Milton and Plato. My Early Greek Philosophy class introduced me to Heraclitus, with whom I remain so enamoured that I referenced him in my most recent novel The Antagonist. I still think about and revisit books from my class on Existentialism, where we read everything from Sartre’s Nausea to Nietzsche’s Thus Spoke Zarathustra to Milan Kundera’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being. These courses have stayed with me, and the thrill of what I discovered in those texts set me on a clear path. I will always be grateful for that.”
Strange Heaven, her first book, was nominated for a Governor General’s Award in 1998. The Globe and Mail named her books Play the Monster Blind, Saints of Big Harbour and Mean Boy “Best Book” in 2000, 2002 and 2006 respectively. She was awarded the Canadian Authors Association/Air Canada Award for Best Writer under 30 and the Dartmouth Book and Writing Award for Fiction. She has published articles and reviews in Saturday Night, This Magazine, Chatelaine and more.