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Canada Reads: Turf Wars Books and Panelists Unveiled


Canada Reads is the battle of the books that pits five of the country's best loved titles against each other, each defended by a celebrity panelist. Host Jian Ghomeshi moderates the debates, and this year it's all about where you're from. For 2013, it's Canada Reads: Turf Wars.

First, the simple (or not-so-simple) question was put to you: Which novel would you like to see on Canada Reads 2013? Any Canadian title was accepted, and once all the votes were tallied, the top tens from each region were revealed and CBC asked you to vote for your favourite. After they were cut down to a top five and voted on once more, the Canada Reads: Turf Wars books and panelists were revealed on Q with Jian Ghomeshi this morning (Nov. 29), and there's certainly a distinct theme of locales:

Jay Baruchel, representing Quebec, will defend Hugh MacLennan's Two Solitudes

Charlotte Gray, representing Ontario, will defend Jane Urquhart's Away

Carol Huynh, representing British Columbia and the Yukon, will defend Richard Wagamese's Indian Horse

Ron MacLean, representing the Prairies and the North, will defend David Bergen's The Age of Hope

Trent McClellan, representing the Atlantic Provinces, will defend Lisa Moore's February

The four Canada Reads: Turf Wars hour-long debates to determine the winner will take place from February 11 to February 14 in front of live studio audiences, broadcast on CBC Radio. Host Jian Ghomeshi said: "Adding a regional element to this year's Canada Reads has brought a whole new level of excitement to the competition. I have no doubt that these great Canadian novels will be passionately defended by our celebrity panelists, resulting in a fierce and lively debate that will keep book lovers entertained."

Representing Quebec, actor, screenwriter and producer Jay Baruchel will defend Hugh MacLennan's iconic novel from 1945, Two Solitudes - famously exploring the divide between French and English in this country of Canada.

The critically acclaimed biographer and historian Charlotte Gray will represent Ontario defending Away by Jane Urquhart from 1993. Away tells the powerful story of an Irish family and their transition to Canadian life, spanning multiple decades.

Olympic Gold medalist Carol Huynh (who won Canada's first in wrestling) will represent British Columbia and the Yukon defending the latest novel from Richard Wagamese, Indian Horse. Saul Indian Horse is an alcoholic Ojibway man reluctantly visiting a rehabilitation centre, where he tells the stories that have shaped his life.

Hockey Night in Canada's Ron MacLean, representing the Prairies and the North, will defend The Age of Hope, the most recent novel from David Bergen. Bergen's protagonist, Hope, lost the love of her life in a plane crash, ending up 'settling' for Roy. Hope wanders through life wondering what might have been.

Comedian Trent McClellan represents the Atlantic Provinces and Lisa Moore's novel February from 2009. Set 25 years after the tragic Ocean Ranger oil rig disaster of February 14, 1982, the novel follows the life of Helen O'Hara who was shattered by the death of her husband on the rig.

Visit the Canada Reads: Turf Wars website at

Keep an eye on the Canada Reads: Turf Wars discussion on Twitter using the hashtag #CanadaReads

Check out last year's winner, Carmen Aguirre's Something Fierce and her advocate Shad in Studio Q with Jian:

Charlotte Gray photo © Valberg Imaging
Trent McClennan photo © Trent's Comedy



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