Combat des livres is back!

Inspired by the annual Canada Reads debates, five French books will be defended by five passionate readers.
The five defenders: Naomi Fontaine (top left), Philippe-Audrey Larrue-St-Jacques (top right), Ibrahima Diallo (bottom left), Antonine Maillet (bottom centre) and Russell Smith (bottom right). (Louis-Karl Picard-Sioui/Hugo B. Lefort/Courtoisie/Paul Labelle/Malcolm Brown)

Combat des livresa five-day book debate show in French, will broadcast live on Radio-Canada from May 7 to 11, 2018.

The show ran annually from 2004 to 2014 and is now being brought back for 2018. Moderated by Marie-Louise Arsenault, the show will air during the second hour of the show Plus on est de fous, plus on lit!

The five books and five fighters will each represent a different region of Canada. These regions are not official regions, but are geographical and metaphorical. All five books were authored by women.

The fighters and their five books are:

  • Naomi Fontaine, representing Indigenous territories, will defend Ligne brisée by Katherena Vermette, translated by Mélissa Verreault
  • Antonine Maillet, representing Atlantic Canada, will defend Écorchée by Sara Tilley, translated by Annie Pronovost
  • ​Philippe-Audrey Larrue-St-Jacques, representing Quebec, will defend Le jeu de la musique by Stéfanie Clermont
  • ​Russell Smith, representing Ontario, will defend C'est le coeur qui lâche en dernier by Margaret Atwood, translated by Michèle Albaret-Maatsch
  • Ibrahima Diallo, representing western Canada, will defend Le club des miracles relatifs by Nancy Huston

From April 23 to May 11, the public is invited to vote for their favourite book to determine the winner of Combat des livres, the one book all of Canada should read. Those who participate in the vote will have the chance to win a trip for two to Prague, plus a $100 gift certificate to the online bookstore There will also be 20 additional prizes up for grabs, which include the five books, plus a $100 gift certificate to buy books on

Combat des livres is inspired by Canada ReadsThree of the books are available in English: The Break by Katherena Vermette (defended on Canada Reads 2017 by Candy Palmater), The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood and Skin Room by Sara Tilley.


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