Losslit Canon

For each issue of LossLit, the Editors ask contributors to nominate an existing, published book that they think deserves to be recognised in a new canon of literature driven by loss. We hope to continue to grow this list of books through which our readers can explore the theme at the heart of LossLit’s origins, discovering new writers from around the world as well as re-visiting well-known texts.

A Field Guide To Getting Lost

By Rebecca Solnit

Selected by Amy Liptrot

A Grief Observed

By CS Lewis

Selected by Anna Vaught

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius

By Dave Eggers

Selected by Lorette C. Luzajic

A Man Called Ove

By Fredrik Backman

Selected by Louise Burgess

A Manual for Heartache

By Cathy Rentzenbrink

Selected by Katt Thompson

A Scattering

By Christopher Reid

Selected by R.E McAuliffe

A Sport and a Pastime

By James Salter

Selected by Rishi Dastidar

A Thousand Splendid Suns

By Khaled Hosseini

Selected by Sanmeet Kaur

All The Light We Cannot See

By Anthony Doerr

Selected by Louise Mangos

Alone in Berlin

By Hans Fallada

Selected by Emma Venables


By Ali Smith

Selected by Claire Collison

Atemschaukel / The Hunger Angel

By Herta Müller

Selected by Han Smith


By Benjamin Myers

Selected by Liam Brown

Beautiful Losers

By Leonard Cohen

Selected by Erkembode


By Toni Morrison

Selected by Rachael Smart

By Grand Central Station I Sat Down And Wept

By Elizabeth Smart

Selected by Michael C Schuller

Centres of Cataclysm: 50 Years of Modern Poetry in Translation

By Ed. Sasha Dugdale

Selected by Josephine Corcoran

Coast of Chicago

By Stewart Dybek

Selected by Robert James Russell

Dawn (Xenogenesis Trilogy I)

By Octavia Butler

Selected by Clementine Ewokolo Burnley


By Michael Brodsky

Selected by Clyde Liffey

Do Not Say We Have Nothing

By Madeleine Thien

Selected by Melissa Fu

Enter with Trumpets

By Helen Henley

Selected by Alex Donaghy

Expecting Something Else

By AM O'Malley

Selected by Tessa Torgeson

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

By Jonathan Safran Foer

Selected by Liz Kohn

Genocide: My Stolen Rwanda

By Révérien Rurangwa

Selected by Emma Jones

God of Small Things

By Arundhati Roy

Selected by Dipika Mukherjee

Grief is the Thing with Feathers

By Max Porter

Selected by Hannah Stevens

H is for Hawk

By Helen MacDonald

Selected by Deb Scudder


By Nicola Barker

Selected by Amanda Oosthuizen

Half Gods

By Akil Kumarasamy

Selected by Hana Riaz

Her Father’s Daughter

By Marie Sizun

Selected by Lisa Kiew

High Flight

By John Gillespie Magee

Selected by Sarah Wallis

His Dark Materials

By Philip Pullman

Selected by Anna Walsh

I Remember Nothing

By Nora Ephron

Selected by Diana Nyakyi

If Not, Winter: Fragments of Sappho

By Sappho

Selected by Tomoé Hill

In the Name of the People

By Lara Pawson

Selected by Penny Schenk

Insomniac City

By Bill Hayes

Selected by Heidi James

Journey to the End of the Night

By Louis Ferdinand Celine

Selected by Salena Godden

Last Things

By Jenny Offill

Selected by Steve Camden

Le Grand Meaulnes

By Alain-Fournier

Selected by Ian Dudley

Losing the Dead

By Lisa Appignanesi

Selected by Sadie Nott

Lotus Gatherers

By Amali Rodrigo

Selected by Hideko Sueoka

Lunar Park

By Bret Easton Ellis

Selected by Max Dunbar

Mama Amazonica

By Pascale Petit

Selected by Georgina Norie


By Vladimir Nabokov

Selected by Ashley Stokes


By Marcus Aurelius

Selected by Pratheesh Ramachandran

Mendelssohn is on the Roof

By Jiří Weil

Selected by Stephen Hargadon


By Yannis Ritsos

Selected by Sean Burn

More Than You Were

By Christina Thatcher

Selected by David Hanlon

More Than You Were

By Christina Thatcher

Selected by Abeer Ameer

Mrs Hemmingway

By Naomi Wood

Selected by Chimene Suleyman

Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont

By Elizabeth Taylor

Selected by M John Harrison

My Year of Rest and Relaxation

By Ottessa Moshfegh

Selected by Blakeley Bartee

Never Let Me Go

By Kazuo Ishiguro

Selected by Marija Smits

No One Belongs Here More Than You

By Miranda July

Selected by E. Amato

Olive Kitteridge

By Elizabeth Strout

Selected by Tabitha Siklos

Reading The Remove of Literature

By Nick Thurston.

Selected by Imogen Reid


By Tom McCarthy

Selected by Max Wilkinson

Reservoir 13

By Jon McGregor

Selected by Jason Jackson


By Shashi Tharoor

Selected by Susmita Bhattacharya

Sad Book

By Michael Rose, illustrated by Quentin Blake

Selected by Imogen Russell Williams


By Tarfia Faizullah

Selected by Mohammad Shafiqul Islam

Slow Motion Ghosts

By Jeff Noon

Selected by Myriam Frey

Sour Heart

By Jenny Zhang

Selected by Marni Appleton


By John Williams

Selected by Mike Ferguson

Stranger, Baby

By Emily Berry

Selected by Len Lukowski

Tess of the d’Urbervilles

By Thomas Hardy

Selected by Roberta Gould

That They May Face the Rising Sun

By John McGahern

Selected by R.M. Clarke

The Alchemist

By Paulo Coelho

Selected by Joshua Bealson

The Arrival

By Shaun Tan

Selected by Michelle Thomas

The Blind Assassin

By Margaret Atwood

Selected by Olga Dermott-Bond

The Body Artist

By Don DeLillo

Selected by Hazem Tagiuri

The Bone People

By Keri Hulme

Selected by Clare Archibald

The Bridge

By Iain Banks

Selected by Andrew Blair

The Complete Stories

By Amy Hempel

Selected by Ben Gwalchmai

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (Le Scaphandre et le Papillon)

By Jean-Dominique Bauby

Selected by Jane Roberts

The Existential Detective

By Alice Thompson

Selected by Myriam Frey

The Fault in Our Stars

By John Green

Selected by Kristin LaFollette

The Five People You Meet in Heaven

By Mitch Albom

Selected by Rachel Hawkins

The Fortress of Solitude

By Jonathan Lethem

Selected by Linda Mannheim

The Guest Cat

By Takashi Hiraide

Selected by Vivienne Burgess

The Heart and The Bottle

By Oliver Jeffers

Selected by Malcolm Devlin

The Lies We Tell

By Mahendra Solanki

Selected by Di Slaney

The Metaphysical Touch

By Sylvia Brownrigg

Selected by Nicki Hastie

The Moth Snowstorm: Nature and Joy

By Michael McCarthy

Selected by Peter Reason

The Night Rainbow

By Claire King

Selected by Vanessa Gebbie

The Notebook

By Agata Kristof

Selected by Jonny Keyworth

The Other Side of Paradise

By Stacey-Ann Chin

Selected by Sanya Semakula

The Sense of an Ending

By Julian Barnes

Selected by Ben Reynolds

The Shock of the Fall

By Nathan Filer

Selected by Natalia Spencer

The Sing Of The Shore

By Lucy Wood 

Selected by Tim Love

The Solitude of Thomas Cave

By Georgina Harding

Selected by Tamim Sadikali

The Spectre of Alexander Wolf

By Gaito Gazdanov

Selected by Tadhg Muller

The Stranger

By Albert Camus

Selected by Alberto Ramirez

The Towering Sky

By Katherine McGee

Selected by Eloise Unerman

The Tragedy of Fidel Castro

By Joao Cerqueira

Selected by Sean Preston

The Unfortunates

By BS Johnson

Selected by Gareth E Rees

The Willow Cabin

By Pamela Frankau

Selected by Caroline Gonda

The Yellow Birds

By Kevin Powers

Selected by Lynne E Blackwood

Their Eyes Were Watching God

By Zora Neale Hurston

Selected by Alexandra Cocksworth

Things To Make And Break

By May-Lan Tan

Selected by Spencer Chou

This Is How You Lose Her

By Junot Diaz

Selected by Chris Beschi


By Libby Hathorn

Selected by Francoise Harvey

Unanimous Night

By Michael Brennan

Selected by Kay Orchison

We, The Drowned

By Carsten Jensen

Selected by Julia Lewis

Wide Sargasso Sea

By Jean Rhys

Selected by Marian Womack


By  Sabrina Scott

Selected by Katherine McMahon