On the last day of Canada Reads, the finalists make their case for the one book all Canadians should read
During the final day of Canada Reads 2020, Letterkenny star Kaniehtiio "Tiio" Horn, defending Son of a Trickster by Eden Robinson and The Handmaid's Tale actress Amanda Brugel, defending We Have Always Been Here by Samra Habib made their final arguments for why their book is "the one to bring Canada into focus."
The novel Son of a Trickster by Eden Robinson and defended by Horn tells the story of a teenager named Jared Martin in Kitimat, B.C., who is known in his community for making the best weed cookies and having a scary mom. In spite of his personal challenges, he does his best to take care of his struggling family.
The memoir We Have Always Been Here by Samra Habib, defended by Brugel, chronicles Samra Habib's childhood in Pakistan, her experience with religious persecution, arriving in Canada as a refugee at age 10 and her journey of coming out as a proud queer Muslim woman.
Amanda Brugel: So we've had a lot of conversation around nonfiction versus fiction at this table. While for me, personally, I connect with both, the bigger question I would like to pose to my fellow panellists is, which book changed you? Which book affected your life after you read the final page?
"For myself, besides the lessons of compassion and acceptance, Samra was able to contextualize what it means to be a Canadian queer Muslim.
"She opened a window into a world that had been previously closed. This changed me. The most remarkable thing, it gave me the courage to open pieces of myself that had been sealed shut. That's the mark of an exceptional book. That's the mark of a champion."
Kaniehtiio Horn: "Indigenous people hold the truths of this country. It's up to you: Do you think Canada is ready to see itself through an Indigenous perspective? It's been a long fight to have our voices heard in this country. My book doesn't pander to anyone else's idea of who we are.
"Eden, a strong Onkwehonwe woman, used her wisdom as an auntie to to ground the story. Don't you think it's time an Indigenous person took first place? Who better than a true matriarch like Eden Robinson?"
The Canada Reads 2020 contenders and their chosen books are:
- Alayna Fender defending Small Game Hunting at the Local Coward Gun Club by Megan Gail Coles
- Akil Augustine defending Radicalized by Cory Doctorow
- Amanda Brugel defending We Have Always Been Here by Samra Habib
- Kaniehtiio Horn defending Son of a Trickster by Eden Robinson
- George Canyon defending From the Ashes by Jesse Thistle