Canada Reads is upon us once again – nearly! Today the 5 books and the panelists who will champion each read were revealed. For those who are not familiar with this program, think of Survivor, except with literature and without any eat-this-horrible-thing contests. It’s a bit of a cultural phenomenon here in Canada – a competition featuring books! But for bookish Canadians, Canada Reads is like Christmas and the Oscars rolled into one giant ball of literary awesomeness.
The program is not without its detractors, and its controversies, however. But, overall, the program has proven great for readers, authors, and publishers. How can any program working to promote homegrown talent and literature, and featuring engaging public debates about Canadian Literature be a bad thing? Sure it can get a bit hokey with its mood music and lighting. And by eliminating a book on the first day, one book always gets the short end of the stick. But it’s an amazing phenomenon this program, and one that draws a huge number of listeners and viewers ever year.
For 2015, the theme is ‘one book to break down barriers’. The longlist of 15 books offered a great assortment of fiction and nonfiction (a Canada Reads first having both genres in the running), as well as a broad range of socially important subjects.
Today, January 20th, the 5 finalists were revealed!
From CBC Books website:
Let the games begin.
Canada Reads, CBC’s annual battle of the books competition, revealed this year’s roster of panellists and contending books on Q:
- Cameron Bailey, artistic director of the Toronto International Film Festival, will defend Ru by Kim Thúy, translated by Sheila Fischman, a story inspired by the author’s own experiences as a refugee from war-torn Vietnam.
- Actress Kristin Kreuk (Beauty and the Beast, Smallville) will defend journalist Kamal Al-Solaylee’s memoir Intolerable, which chronicles his journey as a Middle Eastern gay man finding a home in Canada while members of his family slip into hard-line interpretations of Islam.
- Activist and social entrepreneur Craig Kielburger will defend The Inconvenient Indian by Thomas King, the acclaimed writer’s critical and personal missive on what it means to be “Indian” in North America.
- Broadcaster Elaine “Lainey” Lui (etalk reporter and co-host of The Social) will defend When Everything Feels like the Movies by Raziel Reid, an edgy work of YA fiction that explores youth, sexuality and the search for identity.
- Singer-songwriter Martha Wainwright will defend And the Birds Rained Down by Jocelyne Saucier, translated by Rhonda Mullins, a haunting meditation on aging and identity.
You can learn more about this year’s contenders and panellists at the Canada Reads 2015 page.
I would love to know what you think about the 2015 edition of Canada Reads – the books, the panelists, tell me your thoughts! If you were creating a dream list of 5 books from the 15 longlisted books, which ones would you include?