CBC today announced the celebrity panellists and their chosen books for CANADA READS 2020. Defending this year’s contenders in CBC’s annual battle of the books are: NBA TV host, Akil Augustine; Workin’ Moms and The Handmaid’s Tale actor, Amanda Brugel; Country music singer, George Canyon; YouTube creator and LGBTQ2+ advocate, Alayna Fender; and Letterkenny actor, Kaniehtiio Horn.
The final five books that will be defended by the CANADA READS 2020 panellists are:
Akil Augustine defends Radicalized by Cory Doctorow (Tor/Raincoast Books)
Amanda Brugel defends We Have Always Been Here by Samra Habib (Viking/Penguin Random House Canada)
George Canyon defends From The Ashes by Jesse Thistle (Simon & Schuster Canada)
Alayna Fender defends Small Game Hunting at the Local Coward Gun Club by
Megan Gail Coles (House of Anansi Press)
Kaniehtiio Horn defends Son of a Trickster by Eden Robinson (Knopf Canada/Penguin Random House Canada)
Ali Hassan, host of CBC Radio’s Laugh Out Loud, returns for his fourth year as host of CANADA READS 2020, moderating the debate between the five high-profile Canadian panellists, who will champion their chosen Canadian books that speak to the theme, “One Book to Bring Canada Into Focus.”
“There cannot be any doubt about the increasing importance of reading and literature in society,” says Hassan. “One cannot overstate the value of a show like CANADA READS which celebrates, champions and encourages reading, and some spicy debate across this country. As always, I am thrilled and privileged to be moderating.”
The hour-long debates, taking place in front of live audiences over four days from March 16–19, will inspire readers to think about the lens through which they see themselves and Canada. The debates will be made available across all CBC platforms. Scheduling details will be announced in the coming weeks.
Each year, the shortlisted CANADA READS books see a significant rise in sales, and the winning book stays on bestseller lists for months. For the past five years, all five shortlisted titles appeared on Canadian bestseller lists in the weeks leading up to the CANADA READS debates.
Past CANADA READS highlights include The Best Laid Plans by Terry Fallis, which began as a self-published book and won CANADA READS in 2011; The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill, which won CANADA READS in 2009 and was broadcast as a mini-series on CBC in early 2015; and The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline, a finalist in the 2018 debates, was the #1-bestselling Canadian book at independent booksellers across Canada in 2018, the #3 top seller in 2019, and is currently being adapted for television.
Free tickets for the live debates are available starting Wednesday, January 22, by visiting cbc.ca/canadareads
The CANADA READS 2020 finalists and their celebrity champions will be in conversation tonight, Wednesday, January 22 at 7 p.m. ET, in a free event with CBC Toronto’s Gill Deacon, host of Here & Now, at Indigo Toronto Eaton Centre.