Mar 06, 2014
Winning panelist Wab Kinew joins Joseph Boyden on CBC Radio One’s Q with Jian Ghomeshi on Friday, March 7

The Orenda by Joseph Boyden has won CANADA READS 2014: One Novel to Change Our Nation. The Orenda was championed by journalist and aboriginal activits, Wab Kinew and was chosen by the five celebrity panelists as the book for Canadians to read in 2014.


After four days of debates in front of live audiences, The Orenda survived the final vote today to be crowned this year’s winner. The runner-up was Cockroach by Rawi Hage, defended by The Daily Show‘s Samantha Bee. The debates aired on CBC Radio, CBC-TV, documentary, SiriusXM 169 and online at


The Orenda opens with a brutal massacre and the kidnapping of the young Iroquois Snow Falls, a spirited girl with a special gift. Her captor, Bird, is an elder and one of the Huron Nation’s great warriors and statesmen. It has been years since the murder of his family, and yet they are never far from his mind. In Snow Falls, Bird recognizes the ghost of his lost daughter and sees that the girl possesses powerful magic that will be useful to him on the troubled road ahead. Bird’s people have battled the Iroquois for as long as he can remember, but both tribes now face a new, more dangerous threat from afar. The world is in flux, and a new nation is about to emerge.


“This year’s debates have been exceptional both in terms of the eloquence and intelligence of our celebrity panelists and the many moments of humour and camaraderie,” said Jian Ghomeshi, host of CANADA READS. “In the face of this formidable competition, journalist and aboriginal activist Wab Kinew’s impassioned and thoughtful defense of Joseph Boyden’s The Orenda earned that book the right to be called the One Novel to Change Our Nation.”


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


The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood defended by Stephen Lewis

Half-Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan defended by Donovan Bailey

Annabel by Kathleen Winter defended by Sarah Gadon

Cockroach by Rawi Hage defended by Samantha Bee


Ghomeshi will interview Boyden and his book’s celebrity defender, Wab Kinew, on CBC Radio One’s Q on Friday, March 7 at 10 a.m. and 10 p.m. (10:30 NT). The full interview will also be posted on will also host a community chat with the winning defender, Kinew on Thursday, March 6 at 7 p.m. ET.


On Saturday, March 8, there will be a one-hour recap special of the CANADA READS debates on CBC Radio One at 4 p.m. (4:30 NT), as well as a one-hour recap broadcast special on CBC-TV at 1 p.m. (1:30 NT) on Sunday, March 9.


The Orenda is published by Penguin Canada. In celebration of the win, Penguin Canada will make a donation to the National Reading Campaign’s Aboriginal Policy Initiative.


The CANADA READS conversation continues on Twitter - @CBCBooks #CanadaReads2014. Go to for this year’s videos, post-show debriefs, panelist confessionals and more on all five books.


CANADA READS, CBC’s annual battle of the books, airs on all CBC platforms: online at, on CBC Radio One, documentary, CBC-TV and SiriusXM 169.






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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.


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