Canada Reads 2017 underway this week

What is the one book Canadians need to read? That’s the question behind the CBC’s annual “battle of the books” competition Canada Reads, which kicked off on Monday.

The competition pits five novels written by Canadian authors against one another during a weeklong debate from March 27 to March 30. Each book is defended by a ‘champion’ deemed worthy to uphold the values and relevance of the book. A book is voted out on by one by the public until one winner remains.

The CBC’s website says:

Chantal Kreviazuk defends The Right to Be Cold by Sheila Watt-Cloutier. Platinum-selling singer/songwriter Chantal Kreviazuk was appointed a member of the Order of Canada in 2014. In 2016, she released Hard Sail, her first album in seven years.

The Right to Be Cold tells the personal story of acclaimed Inuk activist Sheila Watt-Cloutier. The book explores the parallels between safeguarding the Arctic and the survival of Inuit culture. Sheila Watt-Cloutier is one of the world’s most recognized environmental, cultural and human rights activists. She was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in 2007, and has served as both Canadian president and international chair of the Inuit Circumpolar Council.

Measha Brueggergosman defends Company Town by Madeline Ashby. Brueggergosman is a soprano who performs as an opera singer and concert artist.

In Company Town, a woman working as an elite bodyguard on a city-sized oil rig is drawn into a mystery surrounding the powerful family that owns the rig. Ashby is a science fiction writer and futurist. Company Town is her most recent novel.

Candy Palmater defends The Break by Katherena Vermette. Palmater is a comedian and broadcaster. She hosts The Candy Show on APTN, and her daily interview series The Candy Palmater Show aired on CBC Radio One in 2016.

In a series of shifting narratives, The Break explores the aftermath of a violent crime on a community in Winnipeg’s North End. Vermette is a Métis writer who won the Governor General’s Literary Award for poetry in 2013. The Break is her debut novel.

Jody Mitic defends Nostalgia by M.G. Vassanji. Canadian Armed Forces veteran Mitic lost both of his legs below the knee when he stepped on a landmine in Afghanistan. He has since competed on The Amazing Race Canada, and is currently an Ottawa city councillor. Set in the indeterminate future in an unnamed city, Vassanji’s Nostalgia examines the psychological fallout of a society where physical obstacles to immortality have been overcome. Vassanji is the award-winning author of seven novels, two collections of short stories, a travel memoir about India, a memoir of East Africa and a biography of Mordecai Richler.

Humble The Poet defends Fifteen Dogs by André Alexis. Humble The Poet is a rapper, author and spoken word artist based in Los Angeles. Fifteen Dogs follows a group of dogs who are given human consciousness by the gods Hermes and Apollo. Alexis is a Toronto-based writer who won the Scotiabank Giller Prize and the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize in 2015 for his novel Fifteen Dogs.

Ali Hassan, from CBC’s Laugh Out Loud, will host the show for the first time.

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