CBC Lets Canada Know What to Read

The next instalment of CBC Radio’s popular CanLit debate series has been announced for March 2 through 6 in 2009. The annual “battle of the books” consists of five titles defended by five Canadian celebrities in a weeklong debate, with one book being “voted off” at the end of each day of discussion. The last book standing is then given the auspicious glory of being declared the one all of Canada should read.

Since the first round of the Survivor-esque competition of 2002, Canada Reads has championed 35 titles to millions of Canadians and increased their readership dramatically. Despite criticisms of the game show format or only picking celebrity panellists, Canada Reads has proven to be one of the most successful vehicle for promoting CanLit in the past 20 years.

The winning publisher donates a portion of the proceeds made from the sale of the champion book to a charitable organization related to literacy. A French version called Le Combat des Livres hit the airwaves in 2004 on Radio-Canada.

This year’s titles and panellists are;

Lawrence Hill, The Book of Negroes (HarperCollins Canada), defended by Avi Lewis;

Brian Francis, Fruit (ECW Press), defended by Jen Sookfong Lee;

Gil Adamson, The Outlander (Anansi Press), defended by Nicholas Campbell;

David Adams Richards, Mercy Among the Children (Anchor Canada/Random House Canada), defended by Sarah Slean;

Michel Tremblay, The Fat Woman Next Door is Pregnant (Talonbooks), defended by Anne-Marie Withenshaw.