‘Canada Reads’ 2024: Catherine Leroux’s ‘The Future’ Is the Winner

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The Québecois author Catherine Leroux’s ‘The Future,’ in a translation by Susan Ouriou, wins the 2024 ‘Canada Reads’ national competition.

The writer Heather O’Neill successfully championed Catherine Leroux’s ‘The Future,’ making it the 2024 winner of the ‘Canada Reads ‘ program on March 7. Image: CBC, Joanna Roselli

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

Leroux: ‘How Do We Go Forward?’
As Publishing Perspectives readers knowCanada 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.”

Today (March 7) The Future by Catherine Leroux, published by Biblioasis in Windsor, was named the winner of the weeklong series of elimination programs  from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s CBCbooks. The book is translated from French by Susan Ouriou and is a dystopian history of Detroit, a book the program refers to as, “a plea for persistence in the face of our uncertain future.”

Each of the five books in the program is championed by a well-known personality who defends her or his book as long as possible. The poet and screenwriter Heather O’Neill defended Leroux’s book, and is, herself, a former Canada Reads winner, having seen her book, Lullabies for Little Criminals, survive to the end in 2007.

Ali Hassan again moderated the four broadcasts of hour-long debate, eliminating one of five shortlisted books daily until The Future survived the final cut today.

The other four books that began the week in competition with The Future are:

Catherine Leroux

In speaking of seeing her book win the program’s week of debates, the Montreal-based author Leroux said, “Winning Canada Reads in a year that deals with the particular theme of the future and how to carry forward is so meaningful to me.

“In writing this book, disseminating it, and meeting readers over the years, I’ve continued to think about the very question that started it all: how do we look towards the future, how do we go forward?

“I hope that the answers I offer in the book will inspire Canadians all around.”

For those who missed the four days of debate this week, you can review them on the free CBC Gem streaming service and CBC Listen.

The five ‘champions’ of the 2024 ‘Canada Reads’ on the set of the show. Image: CBC, Joanna Roselli

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.

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