chapter  3
31 Pages


The e-mail announcing the first “bout” of Canada’s public broadcaster’s tenth annual reading program arrived in our in-boxes in early Fall 2010. The note did not come from the production team in Toronto, but rather from the House of Anansi press, an independent publishing house whose books were part of the 2011 competition. We were on the mailing list of this press, and in its special anniversary year, the producers of Canada Reads had invited publishers to help them promote public participation in the Survivor-style MRE-a change from earlier series. From 2002 through 2009, Canada Reads involved a small group of radio producers working with a preselected list of Canadian books and a carefully chosen panel of celebrities, each of whom “championed” one of the books during a weeklong radio program. Another striking aspect of the 2011 version of Canada Reads was that the show promoted Canadian national identity even more than in previous years. Extending an explicit invitation to readers to interact with the production process of the series, the e-mail message set the tone for the subsequent Tweets, public service announcements, and web copy promotion employed by the producers to engage-and perhaps to expand-the audience of the long-running national competition.