Meet the 2019 Combat national des livres contenders

Combat national des livres, a five-day book debate show in French, will broadcast live on Radio-Canada from May 6-10, 2019.
Combat des livres will take place May 6-10, 2019. (Author photos: Pascale Fontaine Julie Artacho, no credit, Maude Chauvin, Radio Canada)

Combat national des livres, a five-day book debate show in French, will broadcast live on Radio-Canada from May 6-10, 2019.

The show ran annually from 2004 to 2014 and returned to the air in 2018. 

This edition of Combat national des livres will be moderated by Marie-Louise Arsenault, the host of Radio-Canada's Plus on est de fous, plus on lit!

The five books and five defenders each represent a different region of Canada. 

Representing the First Nations, Inuit and Metis nations is prominent Innu surgeon Stanley Vollant. Vollant is defending Manikanetish by Naomi Fontaine. Manikanetish was a finalist for the 2018 Governor General's Literary Award for French-language fiction.

The West will be represented by journalist Deni Ellis Béchard. Béchard is defending Pauvres petits chagrins by Miriam Toews, which is the French translation of Toews's novel All My Puny Sorrows. The English-language edition won the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize when it was published in 2014.

Radio-Canada investigative journalist Marie-Maude Denis will represent Ontario. Denis is defending Sans capote ni kalachnikov by Blaise Ndala. Sans capote ni kalachnikov is not yet available in English.

Quebec will be represented by writer Manal Drissi, who will be defending De synthèse by Karoline Georges. De synthèse won the 2018 Governor General's Literary Award for French-language fiction. De synthèse is not yet available in English. 

The Atlantic region will be represented by Acadian singer Edith Butler. Butler is defending Pour sûr by France Daigle, which won the Governor General's Literary Prize for French-language fiction in 2012. Pour sûr was translated into English as For Sure in 2013.

The winner will be chosen by an online vote. The public is invited to vote for their favourite book to determine the winner of Combat national des livres and 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 Cuba.

The 2018 winner was Ligne brisée by Katherena Vermette, the French translation of the novel The Break. The book was defended by writer Naomi Fontaine.


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.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?