Tag Archives: CBC Books

Canada DOES Read! See the Shortlist for 2016


By Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez / @zaraalexis / @zaraasian

It’s that time of year again when CBC announces the five titles of Canadian literature as chosen by its advocates for its annual debate, Canada Reads. 

This year’s host, Wab Kinew, a former panelist on Canada Reads, defended Joseph Boyden’s, The Orenda, and returns this year to host the event for the second time.

This year’s theme is about “starting over” and the following panelists have chosen Canadian books that they feel best represent transformation and the struggles in starting a new life.

Because Canada Reads begins on March 21 and lasts for four days, you have a chance now, to stock up on and read this year’s titles to see if you agree:

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Bruce Poon Tip will be defending Birdie by Tracey Lindberg.




Farah Mohamed will be defending Bone & Bread by Saleema Nawaz.


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Clara Hughes will be defending The Illegal by Lawrence Hill.


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Adam Copeland will be defending Minister Without Portfolio by Michael Winter.


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Vinay Virmani will be defending The Hero’s Walk by Anita Rau Badami.


Have you read any of the books that will be discussed in this year’s Canada Reads event?

Which book do you think will win this year’s Canada Reads title? Why?

Debates are usually won by those who make the strongest arguments. Based on what you know about the panelists for this year’s debate, who do you think will make the most compelling arguments on behalf of the book he/she is representing?

Which Canadian books would you like to see featured as contenders in next year’s Canada Reads debate?


Until next time, happy reading!

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Canada Reads 2014: And the Winner Is…


By Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez / @ZaraAlexis

Yesterday, the last round-table debate took place for Canada Reads 2014.

And while Samantha Bee gave a quite compelling argument on behalf of the diversified immigrant experience on behalf of the book, The Cockroach by Rawi Hage, it was Wab Kinew’s assertive passion that won the panelist over.

Congratulations to Wab Kinew on behalf of The Orenda by Jospeh Boyden!

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Here is the video stream of the last day of debates by CBC.


Of all the five books in the Canada Reads 2014 competition, which one would you like to read the most?

Do you agree with the panelists’ choice for this year’s Canada Reads 2014 winner? Why or why not?


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Canada Reads 2014: The Debate Continues and It’s Down to Two


By Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez / @ZaraAlexis

This year’s theme for the 13th annual battle of the books that is Canada Reads hosted by Jian Ghomeshi,  is: What is the one novel to change our nation? Which is the one novel all of Canada should read that can instill social change? Which book will inspire Canadians the most to take action?

There will be four days of debate and at the end of each show each panelist will vote to eliminate one title.

The five contenders in this annual book contest and round-table debates are:

Cockroach by Rawi Hage defended by Samantha Bee, Correspondent on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

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Half-Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan defended by Donovan Bailey, world record holder for the indoor 50-metre dash.

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The Orenda by Joseph Boyden defended by Wab Kinew, Journalist and Aboriginal Activist. the orenda cvr Annabel by Kathleen Winter defended by Sarah Gadon, Actress.

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The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood defended by Stephen Lewis, Chair of the Stephen Lewis Foundation, which provides support to women and children in Africa living with HIV/AIDS.

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Day One

After three days of debate, the first day introduced the panelists and their subsequent books in competition with a rapid 60-second plea by panelists on behalf of the books they champion.

 While Wab Kinew made an aggressive and dramatic introduction to The Orenda by Joseph Boyden, Sarah Gadon made a compelling argument about compassion on behalf of Annabel by Kathleen Winter. And though Donovan Bailey’s introduction was as speedy as his world record in the 50-metre dash, his points rooted for Half-Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan. Samantha Bee was a passionate contender on behalf of the subject of immigration in Cockroach by Rawi Hage and Stephen Lewis was as articulate in his free-form intro of The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood as expected by his impressive, intellectual, diplomatic, and activist background (the man has 37 honorary degrees!).

Perhaps the other panelists feared the power of Stephen Lewis’ future arguments and preferred not to debate him, nor keep him at the round table, but preferred to get rid of their competition early, which may explain the first elimination:

The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood

year of the flood elimination

Day Two

On Day Two, the panelists were raring to go, ready to defend their titles to one another. Though The Orenda by Joseph Boyden was highly attacked for being a book of “missed opportunity,” critiqued for its acute violence, which Wab Kinew passionately defended, the book was not eliminated.

Instead, when the vote took place, Half-Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan was taken off the table, argued against for its geographical and contextual distance from the Canadian experience.

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Day Three

Day Three has been by far the most active debate on behalf of all panelists especially covering the issue of intersex people in the novel, Annabel, by Kathleen Winter.

After a passionate debate all around, much to Sarah Gadon’s disappointment, Annabel was voted off by the majority of the panelists.

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Be sure to return on Friday for the winning result of Canada Reads!


Which book do you think will win Canada Reads? Cockroach by Rawi Hage or The Orenda by Joseph Boyden?

Do you think the context of the books were seriously considered in the voting process or do you think the eliminations were primarily strategic based on the panelists?

Are you #TeamCockroach or #TeamOrenda?


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Canada Writes: Strong Beginnings Twitter Challenge

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Canada Writes:

Strong Beginnings Twitter Challenge


By Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez / @ZaraAlexis

On Friday, June 21, Canada Writes, CBC Books and The Luminato Festival hosted the Strong Beginnings Challenge on Twitter from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. EST.

Participants were encouraged to tweet their most compelling opening line to an original and (as yet) unwritten story, so of course, I put on my Twitter Hat and imagined myself as a novelist attempting to begin a story. Here’s what I came up with:

Re-cap: Canada Writes Twitter Challenge: Toot Your Own Horn with a “Humblebrag”

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Re-cap: Canada Writes Twitter Challenge

Toot Your Own Horn with a “Humblebrag”


By Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez / @ZaraAlexis

Canada Writes via CBC Books has been taking a look at how authors market themselves in this age of social media and personal branding. And yesterday, Canada Writes hosted a Toot Your Own Horn Twitter Challenge, which asked participants to create their own “humblebrags.” And if you know me, I’m all for supporting contests, literary challenges, and creative endeavours on Twitter.

And as you guessed it, I entered quite a few of my own “humblebrags” that left me quite “vain” at the end of it. And though I didn’t win any book prizes, I did discover some pretty witty and “vain” characters out there in the Twitterverse.

Here were my “humblebrags” for the day:











What’s your best “humblebrag?”


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Seusstivusly Fun! 12.19.2012

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Suesstivusly Fun!


By Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez / @ZaraAlexis

So much for my pre-planned Christmas holiday!—I couldn’t resist blogging for, oh I don’t know…a day! How can I help it?

CBC Books: Canada Writes hosted a fantastic contest yesterday on Twitter called Seusstivus that  asked players to create and define a new Seussian word that best describes an element of the holiday experience.  For details, check the original post on CBC Books here.

Of course, my inner Seuss jumped for joy and screamed, “Boy, oh boy! I want a toy!”—er…well, you get it. Actually, if my aunt didn’t pay me a surprise visit yesterday, I would have tweeted many more new Seussian words right up until 5:00 p.m.!

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Here were my Seusstivus Tweets:


You see what I mean?

I had so much fun coming up with Seusstivus words that I’d love it if this little event continues right until the New Year!


What’s your Seusstivus word of the season?


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