05 Apr Michelle Good’s Debut Novel Wins Canada Reads 2022
3 Minute Read | CBC crowns the winner of the 2022 Canada Reads Contest. By CBC
Michelle Good is a Cree writer and a member of the Red Pheasant Cree Nation in Saskatchewan. After working for Indigenous organizations for twenty-five years, she obtained a law degree and advocated for residential school survivors for over fourteen years. Good earned a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing at the University of British Columbia while still practising law and managing her own law firm.
Christian Allaire, championing Five Little Indians by Michelle Good, wins Canada Reads 2022
And then there was one: Ojibway author and Vogue fashion writer Christian Allaire has won Canada Reads 2022. In an emotional finale, the book he championed, novel Five Little Indians by Michelle Good, survived the final vote on March 31, 2022.
Allaire successfully presented his case about why the 2020 novel Five Little Indians — a story about five survivors of Canada’s residential school system who are struggling to heal from their trauma and rebuild their lives as adults — best fits Canada Reads 2022 theme as the “One Book to Connect Us.”
“Being a citizen of this country, we do have a duty to do these reparations, even if you didn’t have a hand in it. I know a lot of people don’t want to assume the guilt. It’s not about that. It’s about us coming together as a country to acknowledge this happened and helping us move forward all together,” Allaire said during the finale.
Five Little Indians, the debut novel by Cree writer and former lawyer Good, is the second book by an Indigenous author to win Canada Reads. The bestselling book won the 2020 Governor General’s Literary Award for fiction and the 2021 Amazon Canada First Novel Award. It was also on the 2020 Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize shortlist and 2020 Scotiabank Giller Prize longlist.
The runner-up was Scarborough by Toronto author Catherine Hernandez, a debut novel which tells a moving multi-voiced story about a Toronto neighbourhood that refuses to fall apart in the face of poverty and crime. The vibrant and emotional novel weaves together the stories of three children growing up in difficult circumstances with the stories of three adults who are doing their best to help them out. Scarborough was championed by Canadian actor and activist Malia Baker.
Allaire won in a 4-1 vote on the final day.
“I am happy that everyone even had the willingness to read this book. I think that’s been the main struggle as this history and this experience hasn’t been taught. And so to hear all your debates and to approach them with such care…it’s a very, very difficult subject, especially for me to talk about,” Allaire said during the Canada Reads 2022 finale.
“I hope all Canadians open that up to that. I think a lot of Canadians struggle with reconciliation. They need something to do about it. You can read this book and the best thing you can do is just understand. That’s an easy first step we can all take.”
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