CBC Digital Archives

'A Complicated Kindness' wins a complicated contest

Since its debut in 2002, CBC Radio's Canada Reads has quickly become a popular and influential show, attracting huge audiences and driving up book sales. Each year, CBC convenes a panel of prominent Canadians to each pick a work of Canadian fiction and argue why their choice should be the book that all of Canada reads. The CBC Digital Archives brings you a collection of the animated and entertaining final debates, winner "reveals" and interviews with the winning authors of Canada Reads.

The finale of Canada Reads 2006 recaps some of the most heated moments of the previous day's show, then picks up where that left off. Panellists Nelofer Pazira and Maureen McTeer continue their fiery debate (even though both of their selections are now out of the running) as the finale comes down to Al Purdy's Rooms for Rent on the Outer Planets and Miriam Toews's A Complicated Kindness. Toews triumphs over Purdy's poetry and becomes the first female winner of Canada Reads.
• Nelofer Pazira and Maureen McTeer, who exchange heated words at the outset of this episode, were both defending books relating to the First World War. McTeer championed Deafening by Frances Itani and Pazira chose Joseph Boyden's Three Day Road.

  • McTeer was a flexible and determined champion of Deafening; she defended the French translation, Une coquille de silence, in Le combat des livres 2006, the French-language edition of Canada Reads.

The full list of books and their advocates for Canada Reads 2006 was:


A Complicated Kindness by Miriam Toews, championed by John K. Samson.
Rooms for Rent in the Outer Planets: Selected Poems 1962-1996 by Al Purdy, defended by Susan Musgrave.
Three Day Road by Joseph Boyden, defended by Nelofer Pazira.
Deafening by Frances Itani, defended by Maureen McTeer.
Cocksure by Mordecai Richler, defended by Scott Thompson.

Medium: Radio
Program: Canada Reads
Broadcast Date: April 21, 2006
Guest(s): Maureen McTeer, Susan Musgrave, Nelofer Pazira, John K. Samson, Scott Thompson
Announcer: Judy Maddren
Host: Bill Richardson
Duration: 27:38
This clip was edited for copyright reasons.
Photo: (L-R) Susan Musgrave, John K. Samson, Maureen McTeer, Bill Richardson, Nelofer Pazira and Scott Thompson. Photo from CBC Still Photo Collection.

Last updated: June 11, 2013

Page consulted on December 6, 2013

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