CBC’s Canada Reads competition has a new winner for 2014 — Joseph Boyden’s The Orenda came out on top in this year’s edition of the annual five-book battle.
The Orenda is Boyden’s third novel, and part of a loose historical trilogy that includes his first two books, Three Day Road and Through Black Spruce.
The series follows multiple generations of a First Nations family. Three Day Road was the 2005 recipient of the Books in Canada First Novel Award, later named the Amazon.ca First Novel Award.
“I’m shaking. I’m in Thunder Bay and I’m shaking not because of the cold,” said Boyden, who is of Anishinaabe descent, in an interview with CBC upon winning.
The Canada Reads competition pits five books against one another, each defended by a Canadian celebrity. The Orenda was championed by Wab Kinew, a journalist and aboriginal activist.
“This [book] is for the people. It’s not just lessons on being a good Indian, but lessons on how to be a good human being in here,” Kinew said to CBC.
The Orenda defeated Rawi Hage’s Cockroach, which was defended by The Daily Show correspondent Samantha Bee.
The other books in the competition were Margaret Atwood’s The Year of the Flood, defended by diplomat Stephen Lewis; Esi Edugyan’s Half-Blood Blues, defended by double Olympic gold medalist Donovan Bailey; and Kathleen Winter’s Annabel, defended by actress Sarah Gadon.