Mar 28, 2019

March 28, 2019 – By Chance Alone by Max Eisen (HarperCollins) has won CANADA READS 2019. By Chance Alone was championed by TV host and science broadcaster and author Ziya Tong, and was chosen by the five celebrity panellists as the book for Canadians to read in 2019. This year's title fight asked the question: What is the one book to move you?

After four days of debate in front of live audiences, Tong and By Chance Alone survived the final vote today to be crowned this year's winner. The runner-up was Homes by Abu Bakr al Rabeeah and Winnie Yeung (Freehand Books), which was defended by Simple Plan drummer Chuck Comeau. The debates aired on CBC Radio One, CBC and were live streamed at and the free CBC Gem streaming service. Audiences can catch up on all of the debates on demand on CBC Gem or by downloading the Canada Reads podcast from CBC or iTunes.

“Before 2016 I don't remember seeing swastikas, but these days I see them often — in the news and on social media. But here's something even more shocking: one in five Canadian young people have not even heard of the Holocaust. They don't know what it is, ” said Tong.

This year’s debates took place March 25-28, 2019, and were hosted by actor, stand-up comedian and host of CBC Radio's Laugh Out LoudAli Hassan.

The books voted off earlier this week, in order of elimination, were:
The Woo-Woo by Lindsay Wong (Arsenal Pulp Press), defended by stylist, creative director, producer and media personality Joe Zee
Suzanne by Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette, translated by Rhonda Mullins (Coach House Books), defended by actor Yanic Truesdale
Brother by David Chariandy (McClelland & Stewart), defended by model, actor, TV host and philanthropist Lisa Ray

When Max Eisen was 15 years old, he and his family were taken from their home to Auschwitz, where Eisen worked as a slave labourer. He survived the Holocaust and emigrated to Canada in 1949. Eisen has toured the world, educating people about the horrors he survived during the Second World War. He has recorded his memories in the deeply moving memoir By Chance Alone.

The CANADA READS conversation continues on social media @CBCbooks on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram #CanadaReads. Go to for this year's videos and more on all five books.


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