CBC yesterday morning released the announcement about the five books selected for Canada Reads 2017 and the people that will be defending each book.
The books and defenders are:
Nostalgia – M. G. Vassanji defended by Armed Forces veteran Jody Mitic
Company Town – Madeleine Ashby defended by actor Tamara Taylor
The Break – Katherena Vermette defended by comedienne Candy Palmater
The Right to be Cold – Sheila Watt-Cloutier defended by singer/songwriter Chantal Kreviazuk
Fifteen Dogs – Andrei Alexis defended by poet/rapper (“spoken word artist”) Kanwer Singh aka Humble the Poet
I confess the only one of the defenders I’ve heard of is Candy Palmater but have no real knowledge of her work. It’s quite a wide range of people so the debates should have some interesting perspectives. The theme is the book that Canada needs Right Now. It doesn’t seem to be the obvious theme linking the books though the non-fiction book does talk about the effect of climate change on the Northern communities and that’s happening Right Now, for sure. But then, the idea of the debate is to prove that each book embodies the theme. You can watch a 12 minute video recording of the defenders who were on the CBC radio version of Q for a little taste of what you might expect. I’m not sure if that’s available outside of Canada, however.
I’m looking forward to the competition. I’ve bought two of the books last week and both of them made the short list (Nostalgia, The Break) so that’s good. Not sure if I’ll read all of the short list but I did have Company Town on my list of books I’d like to read. Fifteen Dogs has been out a couple of years and won the Giller prize in 2015. It didn’t appeal to me then and it still doesn’t but it would be a quirky little book just the same. The Right to be Cold is non fiction, where the others are fiction, and most of the other fiction books have aspects of science fiction and fantasy to them aside from The Break which is different.
If you live in the Toronto area or want to go and attend the debates, tickets are available here. They will be live streaming the event on CBCBooks.ca and broadcasting it on CBC television and radio as well. I seem to recall last year it was during the daytime so if I can’t watch it, I might be able to listen live to the radio broadcast at work or at least watch it on the reruns each evening. The dates for the competition are March 27 – 30.