Why fashion icon Jeanne Beker decided to participate in Canada Reads
Jeanne Beker is an author, columnist and television host who is about to add another feat to her resume — Canada Reads panellist. The fashion icon is defending Mark Sakamoto's memoir Forgiveness on CBC's battle of the books.
The memoir shares the hardships Sakamoto's grandparents endured in a prisoner of war camp abroad and an internment camp in Canada and the important lessons they passed down to their grandson.
The debates, hosted by Ali Hassan, take place March 26-29, 2018.
It's something new
"I'm very scared. This is really not in my wheelhouse. I will be in competition with myself whenever I try to do my personal best, but I hate competitions. I never signed up for debating class and I would skip gym class so I wouldn't have to compete with those tough girls on the basketball team — I really don't like to fight. That being said, I did do Canada's Next Top Model for three seasons."
It showcases important stories
"Forgiveness is ultimately about compassion and tolerance — about things we all need to know in our daily lives. I'm the child of immigrants and my parents are Holocaust survivors. They were very adamant about telling us these horrible war stories growing up, but making us understand that we are a product of those stories — this is what makes us who we are. The only way to rebuild a shattered life is to move forward and to never forget, but certainly to forgive."
It creates awareness
"It's wonderful to be involved in such heady subject matter. Not to put down the fashion industry, but there is a lot of superficiality that goes on there and it's fun, but it's not going to save the world. This could — this kind of awareness of brilliant literary material of this nature and consciousness raising felt like it could be a good thing to do. I'm scared, but I can't wait for Canada Reads!"
The Canada Reads 2018 contenders:
- Mozhdah Jamalzadah, defending The Boat People by Sharon Bala
- Tahmoh Penikett, defending American War by Omar El Akkad
- Greg Johnson, defending Precious Cargo by Craig Davidson
- Jeanne Beker, defending Forgiveness by Mark Sakamoto
- Jully Black, defending The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline
Listen to the full interview:
Jeanne Beker's comments have been edited and condensed.