Canada Reads 2018

Sharon Bala

Sharon Bala is the author of The Boat People, a Canada Reads 2018 finalist.

Author of The Boat People, defended by Mozhdah Jamalzadah

Sharon Bala is the author of The Boat People and recipient of the 2017 Journey Prize. (Nadra Ginting)

The Boat People by Sharon Bala was defended by Mozhdah Jamalzadah on Canada Reads 2018.  The winner of Canada Reads 2018 was Forgiveness by Mark Sakamoto, which was defended by Jeanne Beker

Sharon Bala was born in Dubai and currently lives in St. John's, where she is a member of the Port Authority writing group. Her short story Butter Tea at Starbucks won the Writers' Trust / McClelland & Stewart Journey Prize in 2017. The Boat People is her first novel. The manuscript for the book won the 2015 Percy Janes First Novel Award and was shortlisted for the 2015 Fresh Fish Award. A three-time recipient of Newfoundland and Labrador's Arts and Letters Award, she has stories published in Hazlitt, Grain, the Dalhousie Review, Riddle Fence, Room, PRISM international, the New Quarterly and in an anthology called Racket: New Writing From Newfoundland


Sharon Bala's first novel, The Boat People is one of five novels in CBC's Canada Reads for 2018. The story is inspired by the real life arrival on the BC coast of two boats of Tamil refugees fleeing the civil war in Sri Lanka. The Boat People explores immigration, identity and Canada’s claim to being one of the world’s most open societies. 26:09
The Canada Reads defenders and authors took the stage in Toronto to discuss the five books that will be championed on CBC's battle of the books from March 26-29, 2018. Here and Now's Gill Deacon hosted the event in the Glenn Gould Studio. 1:07:45
Sharon Bala on her debut novel, which is in the running for Canada Reads 2018, and gives an inside look at what it's like to be an asylum seeker in Canada. 14:46
Award-winning writer Sharon Bala's debut novel, The Boat People, is about a group of about 500 Sri Lankan refugees who arrive in Canada only to face deportation and accusations of terrorism. 27:53
A story of new Canadians resonates from St. John's to Vancouver. Jamie Fitzpatrick speaks with the author of The Boat People, and the defender who will taking it into this year's Canada Reads competition. 7:55

The Canada Reads 2018 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.