The annual edition of CBC's Canada Reads gets underway Monday with five prominent Canadians waging a vigorous literary debate to determine the one novel the entire country should read.

This year's battle of the books centres on the theme of "starting over," with five titles that tackle issues such as transformation and second chances through explorations of migrants, immigrants and others making major life changes.

This year's celebrity panellists and their chosen books are:

Gillian (Gill) Deacon

Author and CBC Radio host Gill Deacon will preside over this year's Canada Reads debate, which takes place March 21-24. (CBC)

Gill Deacon, an author and the host of CBC Radio's Toronto afternoon show Here and Now, will preside over this year's debate. She replaced former host Wab Kinew, who withdrew to enter provincial politics as an NDP candidate in Manitoba's upcoming election

The debates — streamed live online and broadcast on CBC Radio and CBC-TV — begin Monday, with the five titles eventually whittled down, until one book is declared champion on Thursday.

The winning author and panellist will be interviewed on CBC cultural affairs show q Friday morning.

Canada Reads

The 2016 Canada Reads authors with their books: (from left) Saleema Nawaz, Michael Winter, Anita Rau Badami, Lawrence Hill and Tracey Lindberg. (CBC Books)

Past Canada Reads winners have included: Ru by Kim Thuy, The Orenda by Joseph Boyden, The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill, February by Lisa Moore, Lullabies for Little Criminals by Heather O'Neill and The Best Laid Plans by Terry Fallis.

Now in its 15th edition, the popular competition has sparked a phenomenon dubbed "the Canada Reads effect," in which all five books in contention see a spike in sales with a bigger bump — and increased recognition — for the eventual winner.

Notable Canadians from the worlds of politics, entertainment, sports, business, journalism and activism have championed books for Canada Reads over the years, including Justin Trudeau, Donovan Bailey, Lainey Lui, Samantha Bee, Megan Follows, Stephen Lewis, Measha Brueggergosman, Ali Velshi, Jay Baruchel and Roch Carrier.

How to follow Canada Reads 2016:


  • 10 a.m. ET. video livestream on
  •  On-demand video will be available each afternoon


  • 11 a.m. local time (1:30 p.m. NT) on CBC Radio One
  • 8 p.m. local time (8:30 p.m. NT) on CBC Radio One
  • 3:00 a.m. (3:30 a.m. NT) the next day on CBC Radio One
  • The podcast will be available here or on iTunes.
  • SiriuxXM 169 will broadcast the episode at 11:00 a.m., 10:00 p.m. (same day) and 2:00 a.m. (the next day)


  • 4 p.m. local time on CBC Television (4:30 in NFLD), except Tues.  March 22, when it will air at 3 p.m. local time
  • 7 p.m. ET on documentary
  • 9 p.m. PT on documentary