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Canada Reads 2015: The Longlist

monkey-beach-eden-robinsonIt’s time for the annual Canadian book battle wherein five well-known Canadians each pick a literary work to champion, and verbally spar on the airwaves. A brainchild of the Canadian Broadcasting Company (CBC), Canada Reads first aired in 2002 and has been going strong ever since. The debates take place in front of a live audience and are broadcast on CBC Radio One for the English-language edition, and on Première Chaîne for the French.

First, a theme is selected. This year’s theme is “One Book to Break Barriers”. Last year’s theme was “A Novel to Change Our Nation”. Once a theme is confirmed, a longlist of 15 books is chosen – three for each member of the panel (we don’t know who’s on the panel at this point). Titles must be Canadian, but can be open to fiction, plays or poetry. Once the 15 book-longlist is confirmed, the panel members will then select one title each to bring forth to the debates and fight for. This year, the panelists and their respective selected titles will be announced on January 20th. The debates will occur over March 16th-19th, with one book being knocked out per debate, until one champion book remains. The winning books is announced, and the publisher of the winner donates part of the sales profits to a literacy-based charity. Lovely! Books benefiting books.

I had to cringe a little bit when seeing this year’s longlist, as I have read only one of the selected books – Monkey Beach, by Eden Robinson (which I loved).

Here’s the longlist:

Arrival City: The Final Migration and Our Next World by Doug Saunders
Ru by Kim Thúy; Sheila Fischman, translator
What We All Long For by Dionne Brand
The Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account of Native People in North America by Thomas King
This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate by Naomi Klein
The Door is Open: A Memoir of a Soup Kitchen Volunteer by Bart Campbell
Celia’s Song by Lee Maracle
Intolerable: A Memoir of Extremes by Kamal Al-Solaylee
Bone & Bread by Saleema Nawaz
When Everything Feels Like the Movies by Raziel Reid
(You) Set Me on Fire by Mariko Tamaki
For Today I Am A Boy by Kim Fu
All My Puny Sorrows by Miriam Toews
And the Birds Rained Down by Jocelyne Saucier; Rhonda Mullins, translator
Monkey Beach by Eden Robinson

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