Wab Kinew is the 2015 host of CBC’s national book competition Canada Reads. He’s an award-winning hip hop artist and journalist, a correspondent for Al-Jazeera America, and perhaps best known to Canadians as the advocate for Joseph Boyden’s The Orenda, the winning book for Canada Reads 2014.
Last year on CBC’s Canada Reads, Wab Kinew electrified listeners with his opening book defense that name-checked each rival book in the competition while building to his defense of The Orenda. And he did it all in just under his allotted 60 seconds, memorised, and in verse. He began the competition by demolishing his competitors, some of whom, like runner Donovan Bailey, failed to use even half his accorded time, perhaps forgetting that you couldn’t win this contest by finishing early.
Despite numerous achievements and awards, merit alone wasn’t enough to get Wab Kinew his new gig as moderator of Canada Reads 2015—timing played the decisive factor. Last September, the former Canada Reads host, Jian Ghomeshi, began a public and highly dramatic self-destruction over as-yet unproven allegations of beating women before or during sex. He’s currently living with his mother while awaiting trial.
In that context, Wab Kinew discusses:
- How he got selected to be a Canada Reads 2014 panelist
- What he brings to the role of Canada Reads 2015 moderator, and what he thinks the radio series should do for the country, and
- His take on the spectre of Jian Ghomeshi over this year’s competition.
In part 2 of the show, you'll hear the brilliant writer of the Leo Desroches mysteries Fall From Grace and A Killing Winter, Wayne Arthurson. Arthurson is a Metis writer from Edmonton who’s been a small town newspaper reporter, advertising copy writer, ghost writer, editor, punk rock drummer, a contestant on the BOOK TV series The 3 Day Novel Contest, and the popular historian who crafted In the Shadow of Our Ancestors for Lone Pine Press.
Arthurson was one of the featured speakers at Authorpalooza, a series of writers-on-writing live talk shows I run in my current work as Writer in Residence at the University of Alberta’s Department of English and Film Studies.
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