Summer Reads | 5 All-Star Books

There are 5 new all-star books you can add to your summer reading list thanks to some rigorous debate by CBC’s Canada Reads.

The 2016 literary competition placed Lawrence Hill’s The Illegal on the top of its list, followed by Anita Rau Badami’s The Hero’s Walk, Michael Winter’s Minister Without Portfolio, Salem Nawaz’s Bone and Bread, and Birdie by Tracey Lindberg.

As the winner of 2016 Canada Reads, The Illegal by Lawrence Hillwas championed by Olympian and humanitarian Clara Hughes, and was chosen by the five celebrity panellists as the book for Canadians to read in 2016. This year’s title fight took on the theme “Starting Over,” exploring five novels of transformation and second chances through stories of migrants, immigrants and others who are choosing – or forced – to make major changes in their lives.

After four days of debate in front of live audiences, Lawrence Hill’s The Illegal survived the final vote to be crowned this year’s winner. The runner-up was The Hero’s Walk by Anita Rau Badami, which was defended by actor and writer Vinay Virmani. The debates aired on CBC Radio One,, documentary channel and CBC-TV.

The Illegal is a compelling story that examines the plight of refugees who risk everything to start over in a country that doesn’t want them. After his father is killed by a dictator’s thugs, runner Keita Ali flees his homeland and goes into hiding in a country known as Freedom State, where his presence is illegal and he must go underground to save his own life. This is the second time that a novel by Lawrence Hill has won Canada Reads. His novel The Book of Negroes, championed by Avi Lewis, was the 2009 winner and was later turned into a hugely successful CBC TV original production that took home a total of 11 wins at the 2016 Canadian Screen Awards.

5 All-Star Summer Reads:

  • Minister without Portfolio by Michael Winter (Penguin Canada), defended by Adam “Edge” Copeland
  • Bone and Bread by Saleema Nawaz (House of Anansi Press), defended by Farah Mohamed
  • Birdie by Tracey Lindberg (HarperCollins), defended by Bruce Poon Tip
  • The Hero’s Walk by Anita Rau Badami (Vintage Canada), defended by Vinay Virmani
  • The Illegal by Lawrence Hill (HarperCollins), defended by Clara Hughes
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