Mar 24, 2016

  Winning panellist Clara Hughes secures a second Canada Reads win for Lawrence Hill


The Illegal by Lawrence Hill has won   CANADA READS 2016. The Illegal was championed by   Olympian and humanitarian Clara Hughes, and was chosen by the five celebrity panellists as the book for Canadians to read in   2016. This year’s title fight took on the theme “Starting Over,” exploring five novels of transformation and second chances through stories of migrants,   immigrants and others who are choosing - or forced - to make major changes in their lives.

  After four days of debate in front of live audiences, The Illegal survived the final vote today to be crowned this year’s winner.
The runner-up was The Hero’s Walk by Anita Rau Badami, which was defended by actor and writer   Vinay Virmani. The debates aired on CBC Radio One,, documentary channel and CBC-TV.

  The Illegal
  is a compelling story that examines the plight of refugees who risk everything to start over in a country that doesn’t want them. After his father is
  killed by a dictator’s thugs, runner Keita Ali flees his homeland and goes into hiding in a country known as Freedom State, where his presence is illegal
  and he must go underground to save his own life.

  This is the second time that a novel by Lawrence Hill has won Canada Reads. His novel The Book of Negroes, championed by Avi
  Lewis, was the 2009 winner and was later turned into a hugely successful CBC TV original production that took home a total of 11 wins at the 2016 Canadian
  Screen Awards.

This year’s debates were hosted by award-winning broadcaster and bestselling author   Gill Deacon. “Hosting Canada Reads has been an incredible experience,” says
  Deacon “The panellists were passionate advocates for their books, and they fought hard but were also very generous. I hope that the debates spark more
  conversations and that Canadians enjoy reading not only the winning book, but all five.”

  The books voted off earlier this week, in order of elimination, were:

  Minister Without Portfolio
  by Michael Winter (Penguin Canada), defended by Adam “Edge” Copeland

  Bone and Bread
  by Saleema Nawaz (House of Anansi Press), defended by Farah Mohamed

  by Tracey Lindberg (HarperCollins), defended by Bruce Poon Tip

  The Hero’s Walk

  by Anita Rau Badami (Vintage Canada), defended by Vinay Virmani

  Shad will interview Lawrence Hill and his book’s celebrity defender, Clara Hughes, on q on CBC
Radio One Friday, March 25 at 10 a.m. and 10p.m. (10:30 NT). The full interview will also be posted on

  The Illegal
  is published by HarperCollins. In celebration of the win, HarperCollins 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.

      Indigo Books & Music

  will host a Facebook chat with the winner at 7 p.m. ET on Thursday, March 24. The CANADA READS
conversation also continues on Twitter - @CBCBooks #CanadaReads. Go to for this year’s videos and more on all five books.


  About CBC Books

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