Mar 19, 2015

Winning panellist Cameron Bailey joins Kim Thúy on CBC Radio One’s Q on Friday, March 20

Ru by Kim Thúy translated by Sheila Fischman has won CANADA READS 2015: One Book To Break Barriers. Ru was championed by Cameron Bailey, artistic director of the Toronto International Film Festival, and was chosen by the five celebrity panelists as the book for Canadians to read in 2015. This year’s battle of the books was about finding one novel that challenges stereotypes and shifts readers’ perspectives. Two novels, two non-fiction books and the show’s first ever young adult title went head-to-head in a bid to become the 14th winner of CANADA READS.

After four days of debates in front of live audiences, Ru survived the final vote today to be crowned this year’s winner. The runner-up was When Everything Feels like the Movies by Raziel Reid defended by Elaine “Lainey” Lui. The debates aired on CBC Radio One,, documentary channel and CBC-TV.

In spare, luminous prose and vignettes that shift from past to present, Ru traces the journey of a girl who is ousted from her affluent home in Saigon, travels by boat to an overcrowded Malaysian refugee camp and finally settles in Quebec. This debut novel mirrors Kim Thúy’s own experiences. It won the Governor General’s Award for French-language fiction and the Prix du grand public Salon du livre de Montréal.

This year’s debates were hosted by 2014’s winning defender, Wab Kinew. Kinew is the associate vice-president for Indigenous Relations at The University of Winnipeg, hip-hop artist, journalist and author. His book, The Reason You Walk, will be released by Penguin Random House in September.

“This year’s debates were impassioned and hugely surprising. That’s what makes CANADA READS great—it brings so much energy and a breadth of experiences to Canadian literature,” says Kinew.

The books voted off earlier this week, in order of elimination, were: - Intolerable: A Memoir of Extremes by Kamal Al-Solaylee, defended by Kristin Kreuk

- The Inconvenient Indian by Thomas King, defended by Craig Kielburger

- And the Birds Rained Down by Jocelyne Saucier, translated by Rhonda Mullins, defended by Martha Wainwright

- When Everything Feels like the Movies by Raziel Reid, defended by Elaine “Lainey” Lui


Guest host Jelena Adzic will interview Kim Thúy and her book’s celebrity defender, Cameron Bailey, on CBC Radio One’s Q on Friday, March 20 at 10 a.m. and 10 p.m. (10:30 NT). The full interview will also be posted on

Ru is published by Random House of Canada Limited. In celebration of the win, Random House of Canada Limited will make a donation to Frontier College’s Aboriginal Summer Literacy Camps for First Nation, Metis and Inuit children across Canada. This foundation helps address the educational needs of children in remote communities during the summer months. CBC Books would also like to thank this year’s presenting partner, Indigo Books & Music.

Bailey and Thúy (via skype) will also appear at Indigo Bay Bloor (55 Bloor Street West, Toronto) at 7 p.m. on Friday, March 20th, where they’ll be in conversation with Mary Ito, host of CBC Radio One’s Fresh Air, and will take questions from the audience.

The CANADA READS conversation continues on Twitter - @CBCBooks #CanadaReads. Go to for this year’s videos and more on all five books.


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For further information, please contact:

Dayna Shiskos, publicist, CBC (o) (416) 205-7973 (c) (416) 420-5241