Canada Reads 2020
The winner of Canada Reads 2020 is We Have Always Been Here by Samra Habib! The memoir was successfully defended by actress Amanda Brugel.
The debates were originally scheduled to take place in March but had to be delayed until July due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The show was televised and streamed online, and you can watch the replays online on CBC's website.
Below are all of the 2020 contenders.
- by Jesse Thistle
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*Winner, Kobo Emerging Writer Prize Nonfiction
*Winner, Indigenous Voices Awards
*Finalist, CBC Canada Reads
*Finalist, High Plains Book Awards
*A Globe and Mail Book of the Year
*An Indigo Book of the Year
*A CBC Best Canadian Nonfiction Book of the Year
In this extraordinary and inspiring debut memoir, Jesse Thistle, once a high school dropout and now a rising Indigenous scholar, chronicles his life on the streets and how he overcame trauma and addiction to discover the truth about who he is.
If I can just make it to the next minute...then I might have a chance to live; I might have a chance to be something more than just a struggling crackhead.
From the Ashes is a remarkable memoir about hope and resilience, and a revelatory look into the life of a Métis-Cree man who refused to give up.
Abandoned by his parents as a toddler, Jesse Thistle briefly found himself in the foster-care system with his two brothers, cut off from all they had known. Eventually the children landed in the home of their paternal grandparents, whose tough-love attitudes quickly resulted in conflicts. Throughout it all, the ghost of Jesse's drug-addicted father haunted the halls of the house and the memories of every family member. Struggling with all that had happened, Jesse succumbed to a self-destructive cycle of drug and alcohol addiction and petty crime, spending more than a decade on and off the streets, often homeless. Finally, he realized he would die unless he turned his life around.
In this heartwarming and heart-wrenching memoir, Jesse Thistle writes honestly and fearlessly about his painful past, the abuse he endured, and how he uncovered the truth about his parents. Through sheer perseverance and education--and newfound love--he found his way back into the circle of his Indigenous culture and family.
An eloquent exploration of the impact of prejudice and racism, From the Ashes is, in the end, about how love and support can help us find happiness despite the odds.
- by Cory Doctorow
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FromNew York Times bestselling author Cory Doctorow,Radicalized is four urgent SF novellas of America's present and future within one book
Told through one of the most on-pulse genre voices of our generation,Radicalized is a timely collection consisting of four SF novellas connected by social, technological, and economic visions of today and what America could be in the near, near future.
Unauthorized Bread is a tale of immigration, the toxicity of economic and technological stratification, and the young and downtrodden fighting against all odds to survive and prosper.
InModel Minority, a Superman-like figure attempts to rectifiy the corruption of the police forces he long erroneously thought protected the defenseless...only to find his efforts adversely affecting their victims.
Radicalized is a story of a darkweb-enforced violent uprising against insurance companies told from the perspective of a man desperate to secure funding for an experimental drug that could cure his wife's terminal cancer.
The fourth story,Masque of the Red Death, harkens back to Doctorow'sWalkaway, taking on issues of survivalism versus community.
- by Megan Coles
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February in Newfoundland is the longest month of the year.
Another blizzard is threatening to tear a strip off downtown St. John's, while inside The Hazel restaurant a storm system of sex, betrayal, addiction, and hurt is breaking overhead. Iris, a young hostess from around the bay, is forced to pull a double despite resolving to avoid the charming chef and his wealthy restaurateur wife. Just tables over, Damian, a hungover and self-loathing server, is trying to navigate a potential punch-up with a pair of lit customers who remain oblivious to the rising temperature in the dining room. Meanwhile Olive, a young woman far from her northern home, watches it all unfurl from the fast and frozen street. Through rolling blackouts, we glimpse the truth behind the shroud of scathing lies and unrelenting abuse, and discover that resilience proves most enduring in the dead of this winter's tale.
By turns biting, funny, poetic, and heartbreaking, Megan Gail Coles' debut novel rips into the inner lives of a wicked cast of characters, building towards a climax that will shred perceptions and force a reckoning. This is blistering Newfoundland Gothic for the twenty-first century, a wholly original, bracing, and timely portrait of a place in the throes of enormous change, where two women confront the traumas of their past in an attempt to overcome the present and to pick up a future.
- by Eden Robinson
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CANADA READS 2020 FINALIST
More than ten years after her Giller-shortlisted title Monkey Beach, Eden Robinson returns with a striking and precise coming-of-age novel, in which everyday teen existence meets Indigenous beliefs, crazy family dynamics and cannibalistic river otters.
Meet Jared Martin: sixteen-year-old pot cookie dealer, smoker, drinker and son with the scariest mom ever. But Jared's the pot dealer with a heart of gold--really. Compassionate, caring, and nurturing by nature, Jared's determined to help hold his family together--whether that means supporting his dad's new family with the proceeds from his baking or caring for his elderly neighbours. But when it comes to being cared and loved, Jared knows he can't rely on his family. His only source of love and support was his flatulent pit bull Baby, but she's dead. And then there's the talking ravens and the black outs and his grandmother's perpetual suspicion that he is not human, but the son of a trickster.
- by Samra Habib
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CANADA READS 2020 WINNER
2020 LAMBDA LITERARY AWARD WINNER
How do you find yourself when the world tells you that you don't exist?
Samra Habib has spent most of her life searching for the safety to be herself. As an Ahmadi Muslim growing up in Pakistan, she faced regular threats from Islamic extremists who believed the small, dynamic sect to be blasphemous. From her parents, she internalized the lesson that revealing her identity could put her in grave danger.
When her family came to Canada as refugees, Samra encountered a whole new host of challenges: bullies, racism, the threat of poverty, and an arranged marriage. Backed into a corner, her need for a safe space--in which to grow and nurture her creative, feminist spirit--became dire. The men in her life wanted to police her, the women in her life had only shown her the example of pious obedience, and her body was a problem to be solved.
So begins an exploration of faith, art, love, and queer sexuality, a journey that takes her to the far reaches of the globe to uncover a truth that was within her all along. A triumphant memoir of forgiveness and family, both chosen and not, We Have Always Been Here is a rallying cry for anyone who has ever felt out of place and a testament to the power of fearlessly inhabiting one's truest self.