Nov 27, 2013
Also revealed are the five titles they will defend in this year’s battle of the books

This morning, host Jian Ghomeshi announced the CANADA READS: One Novel to Change Our Nation panellists and their chosen books on Q, CBC Radio and CBC-TV’s national cultural affairs program. The celebrity panelists defending this year’s contenders are: Olympic gold medalist Donovan Bailey; comedian and writer Samantha Bee; actress Sarah Gadon; hip-hop artist, broadcaster and educator Wab Kinew; and politician, broadcaster and diplomat Stephen Lewis. The panelists and authors will meet today at noon EST at a public event in the CBC Broadcasting Centre in Toronto, which will be live-streamed on CBC Books.


This year’s CANADA READS line-up:


Donovan Bailey defends Half Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan

Samantha Bee defends Cockroach by Rawi Hage

Sarah Gadon defends Annabel by Kathleen Winter

Wab Kinew defends The Orenda by Joseph Boyden

Stephen Lewis defends The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood


“It will be incredibly exciting to see how the debates unfold,” says CANADA READS host Jian Ghomeshi. “This year is not only about determining the book to read for 2014, it’s also about making a change within Canada. The goal of these debates is to help inspire social change in our country.”


This year’s battle of the books is about finding that one novel that will change readers’ hearts, minds and lives, and ultimately inspire social change in Canada. The panelists will determine Canada’s must-read title for 2014 during four hour-long live debates, which will play out in front of audiences in Toronto from March 3-6, 2014. The debates will air on CBC Radio One, CBC Books, documentary channel and CBC-TV.


This year’s publishers are continuing the Canada Reads tradition of supporting reading by donating the selected books to libraries. The winning publisher will also make a financial donation to the aboriginal program of the National Reading Campaign, a bilingual not-for-profit organization dedicated to promoting reading in Canada.


For videos, interviews, contests and all the latest on CBC’s annual title fight, visit CBC Books.



Half Blood Blues, by Esi Edugyan, tells the stories of a young black German jazz musician who disappears at the hands of the Nazis and a fellow musician who is still coming to terms with his friend’s fate 50 years later.


Set during a frigid Montreal winter, Rawi Hage’s novel Cockroach is an unsettling and insightful tale about the outsider experience of an immigrant from a war-torn country.


Annabel, by Kathleen Winter, is a sensitive and compelling portrait of an intersex child who is raised in rural Newfoundland as a boy, but can never escape his feminine self.


Joseph Boyden’s new novel, The Orenda, is a vivid portrait of life at a crossroads, when the arrival of a Jesuit missionary changes the lives of a Huron elder and a gifted young Iroquois girl.


The Year of the Flood, the powerful second book in Margaret Atwood’s dystopic trilogy, is set in an uncertain future after a natural disaster, when environmental degradation affects all survivors’ lives.



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.


For more information including series synopses, press releases, hi-res images, video clips and bios, please visit the CBC Media Centre at Follow CBC’s publicity team on Twitter @CBC_Publicity.


For further information please contact:

Dayna Shiskos, publicist, CBC

(o) (416) 205-7973

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