Canada Reads

Why Amanda Brugel chose We Have Always Been Here by Samra Habib for Canada Reads 2020

The actor was moved by the similarities she discovered in the memoir We Have Always Been Here by Samra Habib, despite how different their lives are.
Amanda Brugel is defending We Have Always Been Here by Samra Habib on Canada Reads 2020. (CBC)

Amanda Brugel will defend the memoir We Have Always Been Here by Samra Habib on Canada Reads 2020.

The Toronto writer's first book spans continents — from Pakistan to Canada — as Habib describes her long journey through religious persecution, racism and embracing her identity as a queer Muslim woman.

Brugel is an actor known for her roles in the film Room and the TV series Orphan Black, CBC's Workin' Moms, CBC's Kim's Convenience and Hulu's The Handmaid's Tale

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

At a live event on Jan. 22, 2020, Brugel talked about Canada Reads and We Have Always Been Here.

Why Canada Reads?

"My agent is very aware that I'm a great book lover, but most importantly I love championing work by Canadian artists. I think we consume a lot of stuff from America and any time I can use my voice and my platform to propel and applaud other artists who happen to be Canadian, I'm happy to do so."

I knew nothing about the queer Muslim experience and I wanted to get to know this community.- Amanda Brugel

Why We Have Always Been Here by Samra Habib?

"We need more immigrant stories. I knew nothing about the queer Muslim experience and I wanted to get to know this community.

Even though Samra had been through a ton of trauma and had been through a lot of different experiences that I hadn't necessarily been through, the one thing that hit me was we all experience the same things. They maybe don't look the same, but we feel them with the same intensity and we mourn with the same intensity.

"If we start looking at each other's stories, they may seem different on the surface, but we are intrinsically, inherently bonded together by being Canadians, by being good."

Amanda Brugel's comments were taken from a live Canada Reads event with all the panellists and authors, hosted by Here & Now's Gill Deacon.

The books and celebrity champions of Canada Reads 2020 have been revealed! This year's panellists and authors gathered for a live event hosted by Gill Deacon in Toronto to launch the new season of CBC's annual battle of the books. 56:29

The Canada Reads 2020 contenders


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.