The final five books and their champions will be announced January 22, 2020. The debates will take place March 16-19, 2020 and will be hosted by Ali Hassan. The debates will be broadcast on CBC Radio One, CBC TV, CBC Gem and on CBC Books.
The theme for Canada Reads 2020 is “one book to bring Canada into focus.”
The Lesser Blessed is Richard Van Camp’s first published novel and has become a classic coming of age story set in Canada’s North. The story tracks the exploits of Larry Sole, a Dogrib teenager living in the small Northern town of Fort Simmer. After losing much of his memory in a violent accident, what he loves more than anything is reading, hearing and collecting stories. His detached existence, sustained by a hopeless infatuation for school hottie Juliet Hope and lashings of Iron Maiden, is shaken to its core by his new friendship with trouble-seeking Johnny Beck. Descending into a life of sex, drugs and violence, Larry is forced to face memories that he’s done his best to deny.
The special 20th anniversary edition features a new introduction that reflects on the origins of the main character, one of the most original teenage characters in Canadian fiction, and the aftermath of Van Camp’s spectacular first novel. Included are two short stories that follow the lives of the novel’s main characters in “How I Saved Christmas” and “Where Are You Tonight?”
Lesser Blessed was made into a feature film in 2012.
Quill & Quire reviewed the book stating that, “This novel, like all challenging fiction, is filled with awful, unavoidable truth.”
“First Nation noir madness this book is, I love it, and I’m sorta scared of it, too. Van Camp writes like a dream (or a night terror).,” writes Sherman Alexie, Author of War Dances.
Georgia Straight called The Lesser Blessed is “a coming-of-age tale told in photo-booth snapshots and raunchy one-liners. It is poetry and prose and locker-room boasts and puking-your-guts-out shame. It’s sex that transcends tragedy. It is loud and rude and high. It’s a shaker.”
Richard Van Camp is an internationally renowned and award-winning author. He was born in Fort Smith, Northwest Territories, and is a member of the Dogrib (Tłı̨chǫ) Dene Nation. A graduate of the En’owkin School of Writing in Penticton, he completed his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Writing at the University of Victoria and completed his Master’s of Creative Writing at the University of British Columbia.
Richard was awarded Storyteller of the Year for both Canada and the US by the Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers and Storytellers. He is the author of dozens of books, including his recent award-winning Moccasin Square Gardens.