Joseph Boyden’s The Orenda has been crowned the winner of CBC’s Canada Reads 2014, an annual “battle of the books” competition to find the one book all Canadians should read.
Five Canadian personalities championed five different books during the literary contest – The Orenda was defended by First Nations journalist Wab Kinew, beating out Rawi Hawe’s Cockroach, Margaret Atwood’s The Year of the Flood, Esi Edugyan’s Half-Blood Blues, and Kathleen Winter’s Annabel.
Boyden, a lecturer in UBC’s Creative Writing Program, has found great success with The Orenda (Hamish Hamilton, 2013). The book, which explores the tumultuous relationship between indigenous groups and European settlers in the days before the formation of Canada, was also a contender for the Governor General’s Award and longlisted for the Giller Prize.
The novels shortlisted for the Canada Reads 2014 contest were chosen based on the theme: what is the one novel that could change Canada?
Boyden’s first novel, Three Day Road, was selected for the Today Show Book Club, won the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, the CBA Libris Fiction Book of the Year Award, the Amazon.ca/Books in Canada First Novel Award, the McNally Robinson Aboriginal Book of the Year Award, and was shortlisted for the Governor General’s Award for Fiction. His second novel, Through Black Spruce, was awarded the Scotiabank Giller Prize and named the Canadian Booksellers Association Fiction Book of the Year; it also earned him the CBA’s Author of the Year Award.
UBC’s Creative Writing celebrates its 50th anniversary this year with a gala reception on March 15.