TBLP a Canada Reads Finalist (I’m a basket case)

CBC announced the five Canada Reads finalists today along with the celebrity panel. Miraculously, The Best Laid Plans is a Canada Reads 2011 finalist. I briefly couldn’t breathe when I heard the news about ten days ago from Doug Pepper, the President of McClelland & Stewart. It’s been one of the toughest secrets I’ve ever had to keep. The publishers are informed in advance so they can make sure there is adequate supply of their book in stores when the announcement is finally made. Needless to say, I was shocked and overwhelmed. In fact, I was a basket case for  a few days. Canada Reads is a big deal in this country and it’s a huge boost for the authors who make it to the final five. When I arrived at CBC this morning for the announcement, I only knew that TBLP was a finalist. I didn’t know the other books or who would be defending my novel in the Canada Reads debates in February. I was thrilled to learn that the high-flying and very talented Chief Business Correspondent for CNN (yes, CNN!), Ali Velshi will be going to bat for TBLP. While I haven’t seen Ali for more than 25 years, he volunteered on a political campaign I was helping to organize back in 1984 when he was just 14 and I was 24. (I seem to recall we were often engaged in very important political organizing work together, like stuffing envelopes and licking stamps.) It was wonderful to reconnect with him today and watch how skillfully he handles himself. He really understands TBLP. And, he’s articulate, funny, thoughtful and competitive – a perfect combination for a Canada Reads panelist.

I was also delighted to meet the other authors and panelists. What amazing writers and defenders there are in this year’s competition. Ami Mckay and I were already connected through Twitter so it was certainly nice to meet her in person. I also had nice chats with Angie Abdou, Jeff Lemire, and Carol Shields’s daughter, writer Anne Giardini. As well as being a very talented bunch, they’re also very nice, notwithstanding the competitive nature of Canada Reads. I also met ex-NHL enforcer, Georges Laraque, home reno maven Debbie Travis, and Corner Gas star Lorne Cardinal, who are defending Angie’s, Ami’s, and Carol Shield’s books. Jeff Lemire’s defender is on tour in India but musician Sara Quin sent a video  message that was played at today’s anouncement. (Here is the whole line-up.)


After the announcement, the authors and defenders all sat together and  signed books for the crowd that had gathered. What a thrill. I’m still processing all of this. But clearly this is an important moment in the writing side of my life. Thousands more Canadians will soon be reading the five Canada Reads books so there will be a much larger audience being exposed to The Best Laid Plans, and I hope by extension, to The High Road as well. A rookie writer could hardly ask for more. I often say in the many talks and readings I’ve done in the last two years or so that I feel like I’ve exhausted my lifetime allocation of good fortune. And that was before Canada Reads! Quite simply, I feel very, very lucky, and very, very grateful…

Onwards to battle! (Keep your elbows up, Ali…)

Update: Here’s the video of Jian Ghomeshi introducing the panelists and the books each of them will defend. Should be a fun literary rumble!

7 Responses to “TBLP a Canada Reads Finalist (I’m a basket case)”

  1. Darleen says:

    This is amazing and you so deserve.
    Look forward to the battle :)

  2. Shelley says:

    So very proud of you Terry! I guess it just got a whole bunch harder to line up that event with you and Ted!!!

    I’ll be following the debate very closely this year…

  3. Great news, Terry!

    Wow, talk about living the dream. Very excited for you. (And I love the fact that Ali Velshi is already planning a scandal to help your book win… classic!)

    I’ll be following along closely!

    ~Graham

  4. So happy for you, Terry. And you deserve all this good fortune because you have written such a hilarious story in The Best Laid Plans. Of course NOW it’s not just your friends saying so!

  5. Hi Terry:

    This is great news! For you, but also for everyone who will now discover (or re-discover) the joy of reading because of The Best Laid Plans!

    Evadne.

  6. […] A shout out and congrats – …to one of the people who helped me start out on this journey. Terry Fallis’s book The Best Laid Plans was recently named a Canada Reads 2011 Top Five Finalist, and will have none other than CNN’s Ali Velshi defending it in the New Year. Read more about it here: http://terryfallis.com/2010/11/24/tblp-a-canada-reads-finalist-im-a-basket-case/ […]

  7. […] upon the Top 100 Bestseller list for Literature and Fiction. Clearly, the hoopla surrounding Canada Reads has been having its impact. It seems that The Best Laid Plans is moving up the list. I was actually […]

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