Canada Reads·Highlight

'It shows us a pathway forward': Suzanne Simard champions Life in the City of Dirty Water

On Day One of Canada Reads 2022, Suzanne Simard shared her thoughts on memoir Life in the City of Dirty Water by Clayton Thomas-Müller.

On Day One of Canada Reads 2022, Suzanne Simard shared her thoughts on memoir Life in the City of Dirty Water

Suzanne Simard champions Life in the City of Dirty Water by Clayton Thomas-Müller

4 months ago
Duration 0:51
On the opening day of Canada Reads 2022, Suzanne Simard argues that Clayton Thomas-Müller's memoir bridges the past with the future.

The Canada Reads 2022 theme, "One Book to Connect Us," was at the heart of the first round of debates as the five champions talked about the contending books. 

Forest ecologist and author Suzanne Simard is defending Life in the City of Dirty Water by Clayton Thomas-Müller.

The Cree activist tells his life story in this debut memoir, from facing the effects of intergenerational trauma as the son of residential school survivors to becoming a committed leader in the environmental movement. Along the way, Thomas-Müller remained tied to his Cree heritage and spirituality to create a vision of healing within oneself and with the Earth.

Simard reflected on the themes of Life in the City of Dirty Water, saying that the debut memoir reflects the reality that many Canadians are faced with in terms of dealing with the real world effects of climate change. 

"The one thing that Clayton is able to do is he connects the past with the future. I think that's what sets it apart from all the other books," said Simard.

"We have an uncertain future ahead of us and he really takes what he's learned from his past, his culture, his spirituality, his ancestors — and all those stories of creation and spirituality that make us a whole community. It makes the First Nations and all the people of Canada whole. 

The one thing that Clayton is able to do is he connects the past with the future. I think that's what sets it apart from all the other books.

"It's that wholeness that's going to bring us forward. So I feel like Life in the City of Dirty Water really was able to do that better than any other book.

"It shows us a pathway forward as we try to deal with upcoming trauma that is undoubtedly going to happen as the climate changes."

Suzanne Simard on Day One of Canada Reads 2022. (CBC)

The Canada Reads 2022 champions and their chosen books are:

Here's how you can tune into Canada Reads 2022:

ON RADIO: Canada Reads will air on CBC Radio at 11:05 a.m. ET, CST, MT, PT; at 1:05 p.m. in AT, and at 1:35 p.m. in Newfoundland and Labrador. 

ON TV: CBC TV will broadcast Canada Reads at 1 p.m. ET, CST, MT, PT; at 2 p.m. in AT, and at 2:30 p.m. in Newfoundland and Labrador. 

ONLINE: CBC Books will livestream the debates at 11 a.m. ET on CBCBooks.caYouTubeFacebookTwitter and Gem. The debates will be available to replay online each day. The livestreams on YouTube and Facebook will be available to watch outside Canada. 

PODCAST: Listen to the debates as a podcast on CBC Listen. The episode will be posted each day after the live airing.


WARNING: The books chosen for Canada Reads deal with difficult topics, such as trauma and abuse. These stories may be shared during the broadcast. Click this link to find publicly available resources for support.

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