Emily Carr

“Writing is a splendid sorter of… feelings, better even than paint.”

Emily Carr

This past April during our season of “favourite authors”, Lyn Koltutsky revealed the literary side of the now-iconic Canadian artist Emily Carr. Lyn’s talk was interspersed with views of old photographs and stunning paintings. Emily Carr’s talents as an artist went largely unrecognised during a lifetime of sorrow, poverty and many challenges. In spite of — or perhaps because of — her life journey, she shines as a true “original”: adventurous, confident, quirky and complex. Her literary and artistic accomplishments seem even more astounding! 

Carr’s first book Klee Wyck, a collection of short stories, wasn’t published until 1941 near the end of her life when her painting career had ended due to a heart attack. Nonetheless, it won the Governor General’s Award for Literature that year! The two subsequent books published in her lifetime, The Book of Small (1942) and The House of All Sorts (1944) were “autobiographical” but she used creative licence which created somewhat of a myth of Emily Carr. Four more books were published posthumously.