Christian Allaire, champion of Michelle Good’s Five Little Indians, wins Canada Reads 2022


And then there was one: Ojibway author and Vogue fashion writer Christian Allaire won Canada reads 2022. In a moving finale, the book he defended, novel five little indians by Michelle Good, survived the final vote on March 31, 2022.

Allaire successfully presented his case on why the 2020 novel five little indians — the story of five survivors of Canada’s residential school system struggling to heal from their trauma and rebuild their adult lives — best fits the Canada reads The theme for 2022 as “A book to connect us”.

“As a citizen of this country, we have a duty to make these repairs, even if you didn’t participate. I know a lot of people don’t want to take the blame. It’s not about that It’s about coming together as a country to acknowledge that this has happened and help us move forward together,” Allaire said in the final.

five little indiansthe debut novel by Cree writer and former lawyer Good, is the second book by an Indigenous author to win Canada reads. The best-selling book won the 2020 Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction and the 2021 Amazon Canada First Novel Award. It was also shortlisted for the 2020 Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize and shortlisted for the 2020 Scotiabank Giller Prize.

The finalist was Scarborough by Toronto author Catherine Hernandewitha first novel which tells a moving, multi-voiced story about a Toronto neighborhood that refuses to crumble in the face of poverty and crime. The vibrant and moving novel weaves together the stories of three children growing up in difficult circumstances with the stories of three adults who do their best to help them. Scarborough was championed by Canadian actress and activist Malia Baker.

Allaire won in a 4-1 vote on the final day.

Catherine Hernandez’s Scarborough champion Malia Baker and Michelle Good’s Five Little Indians champion Christian Allaire are the final two in Canada Reads 2022. (Jeremy Gilbert/CBC)

“I’m glad everyone even had the will to read this book. I think that’s been the main struggle because this history and this experience hasn’t been taught. And so to hear all of your debates and approaching them with such care…it’s a very, very difficult subject, especially for me to talk about,” Allaire said during the Canada reads Final 2022.

“I hope all Canadians will open up to this. I think a lot of Canadians are struggling to reconcile. They need something to do about it. You can read this book and the best thing you can do is just understand. It’s an easy first step we can all take.”

WATCH | The Five Little Indians book trailer

Book Trailer: Five Little Indians by Michelle Good

Michelle Good’s novel will be defended by Christian Allaire on Canada Reads 2022. 1:16

Allaire is an Ojibway writer from Nipissing First Nation. He is the fashion and style writer for Vogue and also the author of The power of style, a YA non-fiction book that highlights the need for diversity and representation in fashion – and examines topics such as cosplay, makeup, hijabs and hair to show the intersection of style, culture and social justice over the years.

During the debates, Allaire shared that he recognizes his family and friends in the characters of five little indians. He spoke of his grandmother Leda, a residential school survivor who fought to keep Indigenous culture and traditions alive in her family.

“I saw with my own eyes how residential schools affected our communities. They have created a feeling of mistrust, anger, a loss of confidence in those who run this country. But also, I saw our people overcome this trauma,” mentioned Allaire.

“My grandmother, Leda, was a residential school survivor. She never spoke about her experiences, but I saw it as a sign of strength. A desire not to transmit her grief. She continued to encourage our family to practice spirituality and embrace our cultural traditions, all of which residential schools attempted to eliminate.”

LISTEN | Get to know five little Indians

Canada reads36:39Canada Reads 2022: Get to Know Five Little Indians

In this introduction to the novel Five Little Indians, find out what the book is about and why Ojibway author and fashion writer Christian Allaire chose it for Canada Reads 2022. 36:39

Allaire was unwavering in his passionate support of Good’s novel during Canada reads 2022. He noted how, while the five books in the running were well-written and dealt with important issues, he believed that five little indians was the one book every Canadian should read.

Good is a member of the Red Pheasant Cree Nation in Saskatchewan. She holds an MFA and law degree from the University of British Columbia and, as a lawyer, advocated for survivors of residential schools. five little indians is his first book.

“I didn’t write this book primarily as an artistic effort,” said Good, after winning Canada reads.

I wrote this book to expose the truth about intergenerational trauma and how there is so little support in Canada for survivors to truly heal, both on an individual and community level. »

Good described her champion as “a superstar”.

“This young man’s future is in the stratosphere,” she said. “He was just brilliant. And he looked so good in his gorgeous clothes too.”

The other three books were eliminated earlier in the week. Memory Life in the Dirty Water City by Clayton Thomas-Müller and defended by Suzanne Simard was eliminated on Day onefollow-up to the novel What a strange paradise by Omar El Akkad, defended by Tarek Hadhadto day twoand novel Washington Black by Esi Edugyandefended by Marc Tewksburyto day three.

It was a week full of agreement on the literary merit of all the books in the running, but also of exchanges and thoughtful reviews.

This year’s show was hosted by Ali Hassan.

the Canada reads 2022 champions and their chosen books are:

Last year’s winner was actor Devery Jacobs, Novel Champion Jonny Appleseed by Joshua Whitehead. You can rewatch the 2021 debates here.

You can see a full list of past winners and contenders here.