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Carmen Aguirre wins CBC Canada Reads

Carmen Aguirre came out victorious at this year’s CBC Canada Reads. The B.C.-based author and playwright’s memoir, Something Fierce: Memoirs of a Revolutionary Daughter (Douglas & McIntyre), about growing up in the underground among South American revolutionaries during the 1970s, beat out Ken Dryden’s The Game (Wiley Canada), the former Habs goalie’s recollections of pro hockey and a very different version of the ’70s.

Something Fierce defender Shad had his work cut out for him, winning three votes to two against The Game’s champion, Alan Thicke, Thursday morning at the CBC studios in Toronto. The hip-hop artist was backed by Arlene Dickinson and Anne-France Goldwater (one of the rare instances when these two panelists agreed), while Thicke was seconded by Stacey McKenzie. The final showdown proved to be one of the tamest panels yet in a contest that included allegations of lying, bullying, terrorism, and lots of tears (we’re looking at you, Stacey).

Aguirre, who is currently touring her one-woman show, Blue Box, called into the studio from Ottawa after she heard the news. “It was a very interesting week for me because I’m alone in Ottawa right now,” she said. “I’d had to go every night to do my 80-minute monologue and then not sleep at night because I was waiting to see what will happen the next morning, but I’ve had a lot of virtual support.”

The Game and Something Fierce (a Q&Q Book of the Year for 2011), were the last titles standing after one by one panelists voted off Dave Bidini’s On a Cold Road (McClelland & Stewart), John Vaillant’s The Tiger (Vintage Canada), and Marina Nemat’s Prisoner of Tehran (Penguin Canada).

D&M is preparing for the expected increase in sales, often referred to as the “Canada Reads effect,” with a reprint of the book. As part of its participation in the contest, the publisher will make a financial donation to Frontier College’s Aboriginal Literacy Program.

Something Fierce will be released in the U.S. in August.

  • Artemis

    I am appalled by the critical position Anne-France Goldwater took against author/torture victim Marina Nemat when she accused her of lying and blatantly judging Carmine Aguirre and labeling her as a terrorist!

    Worse still, Ms. Goldwater’s accusations were not substantiated with facts, nor testimonials which were previously proven to be accurate and truthful. Instead Ms. Goldwater makes innuendo based upon hearsay. And she’s a lawyer???

    Goldwater is a prevalent name of Jewish decent. I wonder what her critical debate response would be to a Holocaust survivor’s memoir recounting the horrors of their experiences. Or does she discriminate among victims?

    My assessment of Ms. Goldwater is that she exposes herself as an unhappy, very angry and judgmental woman who lashes out and spews her venom and righteousness under the guise of participating in a debate about books.

    Ms. Goldwater behaved unashamedly and very un-Canadian-like with her awful critical and inappropriate remarks during this book debate. To me, she certainly doesn’t meet the standards and ethics I would hope and expect “Canada Reads” holds for its participants.

    Ms. Goldwater would do all Canadians a favor if she immigrated south to the US and joined the likes of the Jerry Springer, Bill O’Reilly and FOX news shows. She’d fit right in with their hate-filled unsubstantiated critical fake-news shows and she’d be a huge hit with their anger/hate loving viewing audience.

    As a woman, mother, grandmother, I take issue with Ms. Goldwater’s judgments and criticisms against Marina Nemat. Did she share a cell in prison with her? How dare she condemn Ms. Nemat and Ms. Aguirre!

  • Anonymous

    Congratulations to Carmen Aguirre.

    And shame on the CBC for the appalling lack of respect it shows Canadian writers and Canadian literature by subjecting them to Canada Reads. Cancel this annual cock fight, please.


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