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Canada Reads 2009 kicks off today

CBC Radio’s annual battle of the books, Canada Reads, kicks off today with five celebrity panelists each defending one Canadian novel they think that Canada should read. Each day this week, one novel gets knocked off (or, in Canada Reads parlance, “put back on the shelf”) until only one is left standing.

The defenders and their novels are:

Anne-Marie Whithenshaw, defending The Fat Woman Next Door Is Pregnant by Michel Tremblay (trans. by Sheila Fischman) (Talonbooks)

Avi Lewis, defending The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill (HarperCollins Canada)

Jen Sookfong Lee, defending Fruit by Brian Francis (ECW Press)

Nicholas Campbell, defending The Outlander by Gil Adamson (House of Anansi Press)

Sarah Slean, defending Mercy Among the Children by David Adams Richards (Doubleday Canada)

For the second year in a row, Jian Ghomeshi, host of Q, will act as moderator to ensure that no one gets physically injured in the fracas.

The Canada Reads website is a good location for info on the various titles, the panelists, plus an interesting blog, user forums, podcasts, and other Web 2.0 accoutrements. Other sites have been covering the run-up to the debates, including Roughing It in the Books, co-administered by Q&Q reviewer Alexis Kienlen.

The debates run at 11:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. all week on CBC Radio One.