Books

Kukum, defended by Michèle Audette, wins the Combat national des livres 2021

The debate took place virtually from May 3-7, 2021. The show was moderated by Marie-Louise Arsenault, host of Radio-Canada's Plus on est de fous, plus on lit! The winner was decided by public vote.
Kukum by Michel Jean, defended by Michèle Audette (pictured), won Combat national des livres 2021. (Radio-Canada)

Kukum by Michel Jean, defended by politician and activist Michèle Audette, has won Combat national des livres 2021 after the five-day debate on Radio-Canada.

Kukum is a novel that traces the journey of Almanda Siméon, an orphan living in the Innu Nation of the Pekuakamiulnuatsh. Written with intimacy, the coming-of-age story is about love and acceptance, the history of colonial violence, and the traditional values of the Innu community.

Audette told CBC Radio that the book is not only the story of Quebec and of the Innu community, but of society as a whole.

Jean is an author and journalist who grew up in Mashteuiatsh, Que., home to the Pekuakamiulnuatsh First Nation. His writing is often inspired by his experience as a reporter. Jean's previous books include Envoyé spécial, Un monde mort comme la lune and Tsunamis.

The debate took place virtually from May 3-7, 2021. The show was moderated by Marie-Louise Arsenault, host of Radio-Canada's Plus on est de fous, plus on lit! 

The winner was decided by public vote.

Each of the Combat national des livres contenders represented different regions of Canada:

  • Michèle Audette, representing the Indigenous territories, defended Kukum by Michel Jean
  • Brian Gallant, representing the Atlantic, defended Infinity by Jean Babineau
  • Michel Marc Bouchard, representing Quebec, defended Là où je me terre by Caroline Dawson
  • Tanya Lapointe, representing Ontario, defended Le totem des Baranda by Melchior Mbonimpa
  • Corey Loranger, representing Western Canada, defended What would we be without the help of what does not exist by Simone Chaput

None of the 2021 books are available yet in English.

Un lien familial by Nadine Bismuth, defended by France D'Amour, won Combat national des livres 2020.

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