CBC’s ‘Canada Reads’ Returns, Featuring ‘Station Eleven’

In Feature Articles by Porter Anderson

The long-running literary debate show, ‘Canada Reads,’ is set to air March 27 to 30 this year, seeking to ‘shift your perspective.’

The ‘champions’ of the 2023 ‘Canada Reads’ books in contention are, from left, Keegan Connor Tracy; Gurdeep Pandher; Mattea Roach; Michael Greyeyes; and Tashim Geedi. Image: CBC Books

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

‘Canada Reads’ Reaches Its 22nd Season
Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven, the Canadian-born author’s best known book to date, is among the five books chosen for the 22nd season of CBC Books’ annual literature-debate show, Canada Reads.

As Publishing Perspectives readers know, Canada Reads is a television show that we’ve written in past years, “may be the show that every national book market needs.”

This is because it focuses on serious, socially impactful literature. It communicates the value of that literature through attractive, popular personalities. And its vehicle is articulate, meaningful, committed debate about books that bear on issues of the day: critical thinking.

There’s nothing stuffy or formal about it. In fact it’s extremely accessible and thus highly impactful in its market. But it’s also neither fluffy nor fruity. No excuse is made for its deliberate search for what the show calls “one book to shift your perspective.”

The production this year is set to air March 27 to 30. Once more, Ali Hassan is hosting. And on each day of the program, one of the five books will be eliminated, concluding with one remaining book named the must-read book of 2023 for Canadians.

The broadcasts, emanating from Toronto, can be followed on CBC Radio, with a live stream on CBC Gem, CBC Listen, and CBCBooks.ca. Later in the day, they show is aired on CBC Television and repeated on CBC Gem. The times for the live-debate broadcasts are to be posted soon at CBCBooks.ca.

‘Canada Reads’ 2023 Selections

On the set of the 2022 edition of ‘Canada Reads.’ Image: CBC Books

Here are the five books named for this year’s competition.

We’re also listing each book’s “champion” who will argue for its importance during the course of the week.

As we’ve mentioned in the past, if there’s any drawback to the program at all, it’s that the authors, themselves, aren’t in some way a bit more involved in the programming. The personalities chosen to present and “defend” their assigned books, however, area always forceful advocates for those authors’ work.

The links included here are to Canada Reads‘ material about each entry.

As you may remember, Mandel’s Station Eleven in Patrick Somerville’s adaptation was developed in 2021 for HBO Max, a series that introduced the work to millions in a screening that Mandel called “absolutely true to the spirit of the book.”

Last year’s winner was fashion journalist Christian Allaire, who championed the novel Five Little Indians by Michelle Good.

Five Little Indians would go on to be the No. 1 bestselling Canadian book at independent bookstores in 2022.

More from Publishing Perspectives on book awards is here. More on ‘Canada Reads is here, and more on the Canadian publishing market is here.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with CNN.com, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (Fellow, National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.