Wednesday, September 28, 2011

CBC to historians: Drop Dead

CBC Radio's Canada Reads contest has always been Canada Reads (Fiction). You could nominate recommend anything you liked to read, but if it was not a novel, they would not allow it in.

This year Canada Reads is looking at literary non-fiction -- but they are being as controlling as ever. Only non-fiction that, in their view, doesn't really read like non-fiction is likely to be allowed:
We want stories. Books that are page-turners with captivating narratives, memorable characters and vivid prose. Books so riveting you forget they are non-fiction. Books that introduce readers to a brand new world and bring them wholly into it. While we love the work that Canadian essayists, academics, chefs, decorators and self-help gurus do, those books aren't quite right. We want the final five to have stories that captivate the country. [emphasis added]
Elsewhere on the site they cite Margaret McMillan as a model, but last we looked she was a bona fide academic.  An essayist too, maybe.  Not quite the CBC's cup of tea, one might think.

Beneath the tone-deaf illiteracy -- don't they know anything about the non-fiction genre? --  is the complacent arrogance of  functionaries down inside the national radio monopoly.  Why cannot Canadians read what they want to read -- and say so out loud, even on the radio?

Go ahead. Nominate recommend some history for Canada Reads. See what they do with it.  Send me a copy of your choices ( and I'll note them here.
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