A Canada Reads 2018 refresher: the books, celebrity defenders and how to tune in

Canada Reads — CBC’s annual battle of the books that’s also been dubbed “literary Survivor” — kicks off a fresh edition Monday. 

Here’s what you need to know about the 2018 edition, hosted for a second consecutive year by comedian Ali Hassan. Canada Reads runs March 26 – 29.

The theme:

This year, the chosen titles fall under the theme of One Book to Open Your Eyes. That said, the five thought-provoking selections represent a range of different genres from haunting science fiction to heartfelt memoir to young adult fiction. 

The contenders:

The five Canadian book-lovers poised to debate are:

Canada Reads: ‘You never know what’s going to happen’2:09

Still need a last-minute, catch-up briefing on each book? Check out this six-episode CBC Books podcast setting up this year’s battle of the books

What’s at stake?

The winning Canada Reads author gets immediate membership into an exclusive CanLit club that also includes André Alexis, Kim Thuy, Lisa Moore, Lawrence Hill, Hubert Aquin and Michael Ondaatje. The victorious title typically gets a significant sales boost, over and above the general uptick that all five annual contenders have seen in recent years.

The triumphant champion departs with major bragging rights, joining the likes of past defenders such as Olympian Clara Hughes, TIFF artistic director Cameron Bailey and musicians Shad, John K. Samson, Jim Cuddy and Steven Page (musicians have proved persuasive as Canada Reads debaters). 

How to tune in:

ONLINE: CBC Books will livestream the debates at 11 a.m. ET on CBCbooks.ca, YouTube and Facebook. The debates will be available to replay online each day.

ON THE RADIO: Canada Reads will air on CBC Radio at 11:05 a.m. ET, CT, MT, PT; at 1:05 p.m. in Atlantic Canada; and at 1:35 p.m. in Newfoundland and Labrador. A repeat of the show will air at 8:05 p.m. local time, 8:35 p.m. in Newfoundland and Labrador. 

ON TV: CBC TV will broadcast Canada Reads at 4 p.m. local time.

PODCAST: New episodes of Canada Reads will be posted daily on CBC and on iTunes.


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