Nov 29, 2012
Celebrity panelists for 2013 are Jay Baruchel, Charlotte Gray, Carol Huynh, Ron MacLean and Trent McClellan

This morning, host Jian Ghomeshi announced the CANADA READS: TURF WARS panelists and their chosen books on Q, CBC’s national arts and culture program. The celebrity panelists defending this year’s contenders in CBC’s annual battle of the books are: actor, screenwriter and producer Jay Baruchel, representing Quebec; critically acclaimed biographer and historian Charlotte Gray, representing Ontario; Olympic gold medal-winning wrestler Carol Huynh, representing British Columbia and Yukon; Ron MacLean, host of CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada, representing the Prairies and North; and comedian Trent McClellan, representing the Atlantic Provinces. The panelists and authors will meet today at noon EST at a public event in the CBC Broadcasting Centre in Toronto, which CBC Books will live tweet.


This year’s CANADA READS line-up:

Jay Baruchel defends Two Solitudes by Hugh MacLennan (1945, McClelland & Stewart)

Charlotte Gray defends Away by Jane Urquhart (1993, McClelland & Stewart)

Carol Huynh defends Indian Horse by Richard Wagamese (2012, Douglas & McIntyre)

Ron MacLean defends The Age of Hope by David Bergen (2012, HarperCollins Canada)

Trent McClellan defends February by Lisa Moore (2009, House of Anansi)


“Adding a regional element to this year’s Canada Reads has brought a whole new level of excitement to the competition,” said Jian Ghomeshi, host of Canada Reads. “I have no doubt that these great Canadian novels will be passionately defended by our celebrity panelists, resulting in a fierce and lively debate. Imagine Jay Baruchel vs. Charlotte Gray on Two Solitudes. This will be fun.”


The panelists will determine Canada’s must-read title for 2013 during four live hour-long debates, which will play out in front of an audience in Toronto from February 11-14, 2013, and will air on multiple platforms including CBC Radio One, CBC Books , documentary channel and CBC-TV.


For videos, interviews, contests and all the latest on CBC’s “battle of the books,” please go to CBC Books.


For hi-res photos and biographies of the panelists and authors please click here:



CBC Books features all of CBC’s rich literary content and major events and programs such as Canada Reads, the Massey Lectures and Canada Writes. This one-stop destination for book lovers and writers includes in-depth information on books, exclusive interviews with authors, the latest news stories from the publishing world, book recommendations, best-seller lists, writing workshops and challenges, plus discussions and blogs. CBC Books is where readers click.


About CBC/Radio-Canada

CBC/Radio-Canada is Canada’s national public broadcaster and one of its largest cultural institutions. The Corporation is a leader in reaching Canadians on new platforms and delivers a comprehensive range of radio, television, Internet, and satellite-based services. Deeply rooted in the regions, CBC/Radio-Canada is the only domestic broadcaster to offer diverse regional and cultural perspectives in English, French and eight Aboriginal languages, plus five languages for international audiences. In 2011, CBC/Radio-Canada celebrated 75 years of serving Canadians and being at the centre of the democratic, social and cultural life of Canada.



For further information please contact:

Dayna Shiskos, Publicist, CBC


(o) (416) 205-7973

(c) (416) 420-5241



More information on the books:


The Age of Hope by David Bergen


In his most recent novel, David Bergen gets inside the head and life of Hope Koop from late adolescence to middle age. Born in 1930 in a small town outside of Winnipeg, Hope marries the reliable Roy Koop after the love of her youth is killed in a plane crash. The novel follows Hope through her steady, safe and predictable life as Roy’s wife and the mother of their three children as she soldiers through the various ups and downs that life brings (including a stint in a mental hospital where she’s treated for depression), all the while pondering the meaning and importance of her quiet existence. The Age of Hope is Bergen’s seventh novel. It was published by HarperCollins in August 2012.


Two Solitudes by Hugh MacLennan


Hugh MacLennan’s iconic 1945 novel Two Solitudes instantly became a symbol for one of Canada’s most challenging dichotomies: the divide between French and English. The Tallard family stands in for the entirety of Canada: Athanase Tallard is born of an aristocratic French-Canadian tradition, while his beautiful wife Kathleen is of Irish heritage. Their son Paul, meanwhile, must navigate the conflicting interests in his blood - he is at home speaking both French and English, but feels alienated from both cultures…and he is struggling to write a novel that will help define his Canadian identity. Two Solitudes won the Governor General’s Award for fiction when it was published in 1945, and almost instantly became a classic work about Canadian identity.


February by Lisa Moore


Lisa Moore’s second novel is about a subject that touched the life of anyone living in Newfoundland in the 1980s: the tragic sinking of the Ocean Ranger oil rig on Valentine’s Day in 1982, with the loss of all 84 aboard. An incredible portrait of grief and the difficulty of moving on, February concerns Helen O’Mara, a woman shattered by the death of her husband, Cal, who was one of the crew members. The novel is set 25 years after the tragedy, but Moore shifts the action back and forth in time to offer snapshots of important moments in Helen’s life, from meeting Cal, the love of her life, in the 1970s, to her present-day life as a grandmother of two. February was published in 2010 by House of Anansi Press, and was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize. Moore adapted her novel into a play with the same title earlier this year.


Away by Jane Urquhart


An epic family saga spread across multiple decades and countries, Away details the history of an Irish family in Canada. Esther O’Malley Robertson is the last occupant of her family’s homestead in Ontario, where she is being forced out by an encroaching limestone quarry. Esther relates the 140-year history that brought her family from the inhospitable shores of Ireland during the potato famine to the challenging realities of the Canadian Shield. Shot through with Irish mythology, Away also vividly depicts the 19th century pioneer life in settlements in Ontario at the time of Canadian Confederation. Away is Jane Urquhart’s third novel. It was first published in 1993 by McClelland & Stewart, and won Ontario’s Trillium Award in 1994.


Indian Horse by Richard Wagamese


Richard Wagamese’s latest novel deals with Saul Indian Horse, an alcoholic Ojibway man who finds himself the reluctant resident of an alcoholic treatment centre after his latest binge. Wagamese takes readers on the often difficult journey through Saul’s life, from his painful forced separation from his family and land when he’s sent to a residential school to the brief salvation he finds in playing hockey. The novel is an unflinching portrayal of the harsh reality of life in 1960s Canada, where racism reigns and Saul’s spirit is destroyed by the alienating effects of cultural displacement. Indian Horse is Wagamese’s sixth novel. It was published by Douglas & McIntyre in February, 2012.