Canada Reads 2021 to mark 20th anniversary with search for One Book to Transport Us

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      A national book battle will mark its 20th anniversary with a theme timely for this current era of avoiding direct contact and physical travel while connecting with others in safe ways. 

      Hosted and moderated by Ali Hassan (returning for his fifth year), the 20th edition of Canada Reads, an annual national debate to determine the must-read book of the year for Canadians, will pursue the theme of “One Book to Transport Us”.

      On each day of Canada Reads, to be held from March 8 to 11, one book will be eliminated until one book is left.

      After a longlist of books was announced on January 6, five books will be advocated for by celebrities as follows:

      • Butter Honey Pig Bread by Francesca Ekwuyasi will be championed by chef, TV host, and recording artist Roger Mooking;
      • Two Trees Make a Forest by Jessica J. Lee will be championed by singer-songwriter Scott Helman;
      • The Midnight Bargain by C.L. Polk will be championed by Olympian and broadcaster Rosey Edeh;
      • Hench by Natalie Zina Walschots will be championed by Kim’s Convenience star Paul Sun-Hyung Lee;
      • Jonny Appleseed by Joshua Whitehead will be championed by Mohawk actor and filmmaker Devery Jacobs.

      “There has never been a more poignant time in Canada Reads history to be reminded of the transportive quality of a great book to take us on a journey and explore new perspectives,” Hassan stated in a news release.

      Lee's Two Trees Make a Forest: Travels Among Taiwan’s Mountains and Coasts in Search of My Family’s Past won the 2020 Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction in November.

      Last year, We Have Always Been Here by Samra Habib, defended by actor Amanda Brugel, won Canada Reads 2020.

      Other previous winners include Max Eisen's By Chance Alone (defended by science broadcaster Ziya Tong), Mark Sakamoto's Forgiveness (defended by fashion broadcaster Jeanne Beker), André Alexis' Fifteen Dogs (defended by spoken word artist Humble the Poet), and Kim Thúy's Ru (defended by Toronto International Film Festival artistic director Cameron Bailey). 

      You can follow Craig Takeuchi on Twitter at @cinecraig or on Facebook.