Canada Reads

Here is the Canada Reads 2020 longlist

Find out which 15 books are on the longlist for CBC's battle of the books. The final five books and their champions will be revealed on Jan. 22, 2020.

This year's theme is one book to bring Canada into focus

The Canada Reads debates will take place March 16-19, 2020. (CBC, covers submitted by various publishers, see individual pages for credit)

Fifteen books are on the Canada Reads longlist for 2020.

From deeply personal memoirs to poetry and speculative fiction, this year's longlisted books speak to the theme: One book to bring Canada into focus.

We're looking at Canada's 2020 vision. How do we move forward together? These books inspire readers to think twice about the lens through which they see themselves and Canada.

The final five books and their champions will be revealed on Jan. 22, 2020.

The debates will take place March 16-19, 2020 and will be hosted by Ali Hassan. The debates will be broadcast on CBC Radio OneCBC TV, CBC Gem and on CBC Books

Ticket information to attend the live debates will be announced on Jan. 22.

The Canada Reads 2020 longlist is:

You can learn more about all 15 of the longlisted books below.

NDN Coping Mechanisms by Billy-Ray Belcourt

NDN Coping Mechanisms is a poetry collection by Billy-Ray Belcourt. (House of Anansi Press)

In NDN Coping MechanismsBilly-Ray Belcourt uses poetry, prose and textual art to explore how Indigenous and queer communities and identities are left out of mainstream media. The work has two parts — the first explores everyday life and the second explores influential texts such as Treaty 8.

Belcourt is a writer and academic from the Driftpile Cree Nation. He won the Griffin Poetry Prize for his first poetry collection, This Wound is a World. His memoir, A History of My Brief Body, is coming out in May 2020.

CBC Books named Belcourt a writer to watch in 2018.

Shelagh Rogers talks to 2019 Giller Prize nominee, Megan Gail Coles, about Small Game Hunting at the Local Coward Gun Club.

Small Game Hunting at the Local Coward Gun Club by Megan Gail Coles

Megan Gail Coles's debut novel Small Game Hunting At The Local Coward Gun Club is out now. (House of Anansi Press)

Small Game Hunting at the Local Coward Gun Club, Megan Gail Coles's debut novel, revolves around a cast of flawed characters all connected to a trendy St. John's restaurant, The Hazel. Over the course of a snowy February day, they are implicated in each other's hopes, dreams and pains as they try to survive harsh economic times in the province. 

Small Game Hunting at the Local Coward Gun Club was shortlisted for the 2019 Scotiabank Giller Prize.

Coles is a playwright from St. John's. She previously published the short story collection Eating Habits of the Chronically Lonesome.

In their new books, Radicalized and Infinite Detail, they have created near-future dystopias full of controlling technologies, social division and rebellions against elevators, toasters and the internet.

Radicalized by Cory Doctorow

Radicalized is a book by Cory Doctorow. (Raincoast, Jonathan Worth)

Radicalized is a collection of four novellas that explore the quandaries — social, economic and technological — of contemporary America. Cory Doctorow's characters deal with issues around immigration, corrupt police forces, dark web uprisings and more. 

Doctorow is a bestselling sci-fi novelist whose past books include Little Brother and Walkaway. He is also the editor of the blog Boing Boing.

Samra Habib talks to Shelagh Rogers about her memoir, We Have Always Been Here

Sputnik's Children by Terri Favro

Terri Favro is the author of the sci-fi novel Sputnik's Children. (Ayelet Tsabari, ECW Press)

Terri Favro dreams up a genre-bending adventure in Sputnik's Children. Narrated by a successful, lorazepam-addicted comic artist, the novel jumps between two realities: the one we all know (Earth Standard Time) and another, which has been ravaged by nuclear war (Atomic Mean Time). 

Sputnik's Children was shortlisted for the Sunburst Award for Excellence in Canadian Literature of the Fantastic.

Favro is a Toronto-based comic book writer, essayist and novelist. Sputnik's Children is her third novel. She is also the author of Once Upon A Time in West Toronto and The Proxy Bride.

Amphibian by Carla Gunn

Amphibian is a novel by Carla Gunn. (, Coach House Books)

Amphibian is a novel about Phineas Walsh, a nine-year-old with a love of animals and an encyclopedic knowledge of the natural world. As he grapples with the damage that humanity is doing to the planet, a White's tree frog ends up in his Grade 4 class aquarium. He and his best friend Bird decide something must be done. 

Amphibian was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers' Prize for Best First Book.

Carla Gunn is a professor at St. Thomas University.. Amphibian is her first book.

We Have Always Been Here by Samra Habib

We Have Always Been Here is a memoir by Samra Habib. (Viking Canada, Yuula Benivolski)

Samra Habib's memoir We Have Always Been Here is an exploration of the ways we disguise and minimize ourselves for the sake of survival. As a child, Habib hid her faith from Islamic extremists in Pakistan and later, as a refugee in Canada, endured racist bullying and the threat of an arranged marriage. In travelling the world and exploring art and sexuality, Habib searches for the truth of her identity. 

We Have Always Been Here was longlisted for the 2020 RBC Taylor Prize.

Habib is a journalist, photographer and activist based in Toronto. CBC Books named Habib a writer to watch in 2019We Have Always Been Here is her first book.

Amanda Jetté Knox supported both her child and her spouse when they came out as trans. In a new book, she gets real about what she's learned, and the mistakes she made along the way.

    Love Lives Here by Amanda Jetté Knox 

    Amanda Jetté Knox is the author of Love Lives Here. (Submitted by Amanda Jetté Knox, Viking)

    Amanda Jetté Knox chronicles the making of her loving family in the memoir Love Lives HereHappily married with three children, Knox noticed that her middle child was struggling with depression and skipping school. After Alexis came out as transgender at the age of 11, Knox dove headlong into trans rights research and advocacy. Just over a year later, Knox's spouse came out as transgender, marking another, ultimately triumphant, transition for the family.

    Knox is a writer, activist and public speaker who lives in Ottawa. Love Lives Here is her first book. She also blogs at The Maven of Mayhem.

    Jesse Thistle talks to Shelagh Rogers about his best selling memoir, From the Ashes: My Story of Being Métis, Homeless, and Finding My Way.

    The Dishwasher by Stéphane Larue, translated by Pablo Strauss

    The Dishwasher is a novel by Stéphane Larue, translated by Pablo Strauss. (Le Quartanier, Justine Latour, Biblioasis)

    Stéphane Larue had the least glamorous job at a restaurant — a dishwasher. But it gave him an inside look at the hard-living characters working in frenetic, stress-filled kitchens. He turned those experiences into a novel, The Dishwasher, which takes the reader into the demi-monde of restaurant kitchens. 

    The Dishwasher is Larue's first novel. It was translated into English by Pablo Strauss. The French version of the book, Le Plongeur, won the Prix des libraires du Québec and the Prix Senghor and was shortlisted for the Governor General's Literary Award for French-language fiction. 

    Shelagh's extended conversation.

    Son of a Trickster by Eden Robinson

    Son of a Trickster is a novel by Eden Robinson. (Red Works Photo, Knopf Canada)

    Son of a Trickster is a novel about Jared, a compassionate 16-year-old, maker of famous weed cookies, the caretaker of his elderly neighbours, the son of an unreliable father and unhinged, though loving in her way, mother. As Jared ably cares for those around him, in between getting black-out drunk, he shrugs off the magical and strange happenings that follow him around. 

    Son of a Trickster was on the shortlist for the 2017 Scotiabank Giller Prize. It is being adapted into a television series set to premiere on CBC in 2020. 

    Eden Robinson is an award-winning author from Kitamaat, B.C. She is also the author of the novels Monkey Beach and Trickster DriftSon of a Trickster and Trickster Drift are the first two books of a planned Trickster trilogy.

    The Youth of God by Hassan Ghedi Santur

    The Youth of God is a novel by Hassan Ghedi Santur. (Mawenzi House)

    The Youth of God tells the story of Nuur, a Somali teen who is bullied at school for his religious piety, while he tries to balance his academics and part time job. Searching for a sense of purpose, and longing for male guidance in the absence of a father who abandoned his family, Nuur looks to two opposing father figures. One, a compassionate teacher named Mr. Ilmi who sees Nuur's potential and the other, an Imam, who has more heinous intentions in mind. 

    Hassan Ghedi Santur is a journalist who has worked for CBC Radio. He is also the author of the novel Something Remains and the nonfiction book Maps of Exile.

    From the Ashes by Jesse Thistle

    Jesse Thistle is the author of From the Ashes. (CBC)

    Jesse Thistle is a Métis-Cree academic specializing in Indigenous homelessness, addiction and inter-generational trauma. For Thistle, these issues are more than just subjects on the page. After a difficult childhood, Thistle spent much of his early adulthood struggling with addiction while living on the streets of Toronto. His memoir From the Ashes details how his issues with abandonment and addiction led to homelessness, incarceration and his eventual redemption through higher education. 

    Thistle is an assistant professor at York University and was a recipient of the Governor General's Academic Medal in 2016. From the Ashes is his first book.

    The Lesser Blessed by Richard Van Camp

    The Lesser Blessed is a novel by Richard Van Camp. (Douglas & McIntyre, William Au)

    The Lesser Blessed is a darkly funny coming-of-age story that follows Tlicho teenager Larry Sole as he tries to navigate his complicated life, while coming to terms with the abuse he suffered as a child. Larry's life is further complicated when he meets Johnny Beck, a Métis boy who introduces him to drugs, and his girlfriend Juliet Hope, who Larry begins to fall in love with. The Lesser Blessed was adapted into a feature film starring Benjamin Bratt in 2012.   

    Richard Van Camp is a celebrated Tlicho writer who has written over 20 books across multiple genres. His other books include the graphic novel A Blanket of Butterflies, the short story collection Moccasin Square Gardens and the children's books Little You and We Sang You Home.

    Worry by Jessica Westhead

    Jessica Westhead is the author of Worry. (Harper Perennial, Derek Wuenschirs)

    Worry is a novel about what happens when two women who are longtime friends spend 48 hours together with their families at a cottage. For many years, Ruth has been best friends with Stef — a loud, confident woman who is her opposite in many ways. Now a protective mother, Ruth brings her four-year-old daughter Fern to Stef's family cottage. Fern runs off with Stef's older boisterous twins, while the two women are joined for a night of drinks and heightened emotion with the neighbour, Marvin.

    Jessica Westhead is the author of the novel Pulpy & Midge and the short story collections And Also Sharks and Things Not to Do

    The Rage of Dragons by Evan Winter

    Evan Winter is the author of The Rage of Dragons. (Orbit Books, @evanwinter/

    In Evan Winter's fantasy debut The Rage of Dragons, a world is caught in an eternal war and Tau is his people's only hope for survival. Described as a mix of Game of Thrones and GladiatorThe Rage of Dragons follows Tau as he attempts to get revenge and become the greatest swordsman to ever live. 

    The Rage of Dragons was originally self-published before it was acquired by Orbit Books. It is the first book in a planned series.

    Dear Scarlet by Teresa Wong

    Dear Scarlet is a graphic memoir by Teresa Wong. (Arsenal Pulp Press, Ken Hurd)

    Teresa Wong pens an honest and emotional letter to her daughter in Dear Scarlet. The comic describes her experience with postpartum depression — how feelings of sadness, loss and guilt consumed her — and her many attempts at healing. 

    Wong is based in Calgary. Dear Scarlet is her first book. CBC Books named Wong a writer to watch in 2019.


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