Canada Reads

Meet the contenders for CBC's battle of the books

Five panellists, five books — only one can win! Which book does Canada need now?
The Canada Reads 2017 debates took place March 27–30, 2017. (CBC)

Five Canadians — an actor, a musician, a comedian, a performer and a veteran — will battle it out to become the next Canada Reads champion beginning March 27, 2017.

Over four days, the five defenders will bring their diverse perspectives to answer the question: What is the one book Canadians need now?

The contenders and their chosen books are:

The Canada Reads debates, which take place from March 27 to 30, 2017, will be hosted by Ali Hassan from CBC's Laugh Out Loud.

The debates will air on CBC Radio One at 11 a.m., will be livestreamed on CBC Books at 11 a.m. ET and can be seen on CBC Television at 4 p.m.

Chantal Kreviazuk defends The Right to Be Cold by Sheila Watt-Cloutier

Platinum-selling singer/songwriter Chantal Kreviazuk was appointed a member of the Order of Canada in 2014. In 2016, she released Hard Sail, her first album in seven years.

The Right to Be Cold tells the personal story of acclaimed Inuk activist Sheila Watt-Cloutier. The book explores the parallels between safeguarding the Arctic and the survival of Inuit culture.

Sheila Watt-Cloutier is one of the world's most recognized environmental, cultural and human rights activists. She was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in 2007, and has served as both Canadian president and international chair of the Inuit Circumpolar Council.

Humble The Poet defends Fifteen Dogs by André Alexis

Humble The Poet is a rapper, author and spoken word artist based in Los Angeles.

Fifteen Dogs follows a group of dogs who are given human consciousness by the gods Hermes and Apollo.

André Alexis is a Toronto-based writer who won the Scotiabank Giller Prize and the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize in 2015 for his novel Fifteen Dogs.

Measha Brueggergosman defends Company Town by Madeline Ashby

Measha Brueggergosman (CBC)

Measha Brueggergosman is a soprano who performs as an opera singer and concert artist.

In Company Town, a woman working as an elite bodyguard on a city-sized oil rig is drawn into a mystery surrounding the powerful family that owns the rig.

Madeline Ashby is a science fiction writer and futurist. Company Town is her most recent novel.

Candy Palmater defends The Break by Katherena Vermette

Candy Palmater is a comedian and broadcaster. She hosts The Candy Show on APTN, and her daily interview series The Candy Palmater Show aired on CBC Radio One in 2016.

In a series of shifting narratives, The Break explores the aftermath of a violent crime on a community in Winnipeg's North End.

Katherena Vermette is a Métis writer who won the Governor General's Literary Award for poetry in 2013. The Break is her debut novel.

Jody Mitic defends Nostalgia by M.G. Vassanji

Jody Mitic (CBC)

Canadian Armed Forces veteran Jody Mitic lost both of his legs below the knee when he stepped on a landmine in Afghanistan. He has since competed on The Amazing Race Canada, and is currently an Ottawa city councillor.

Set in the indeterminate future in an unnamed city, M.G. Vassanji's Nostalgia examines the psychological fallout of a society where physical obstacles to immortality have been overcome.

M.G. Vassanji is the award-winning author of seven novels, two collections of short stories, a travel memoir about India, a memoir of East Africa and a biography of Mordecai Richler.