Kate Beaton‘s widely acclaimed graphic memoir Ducks: Two Years in the Oil Sands (Drawn & Quarterly) emerged as the winner of radio competition Canada Reads 2023 today. 

Canada Reads is a ‘battle of the books’ format show where five cultural personalities each champion a different work across a week of programming on CBC Radio. Canada Reads 2023 took place between March 27 to 30 with the theme “one book to shift your perspective”.

24-year-old Jeopardy champion Mattea Roach‘s winning argument for Beaton’s Ducks in the final of Canada Reads 2023:

“We are all implicated in the story that Ducks tells. Ducks is one woman’s story but it is the story more broadly of an industry that we all rely on in some way…we are all implicated by the ethical questions raised in this book.

“I think most specifically what this book does is it creates an empathy and a sense of understanding across people who come from different parts of the country. We’ve talked a lot about this story. About the ‘going down the road’ – of leaving Cape Breton, Newfoundland and other places in the Atlantic provinces – and that sense of displacement, but I also think this book articulates the perspective of Albertans who maybe feel as though the rest of the country is riding on their coattails. I won’t comment on how I feel about those opinions but they are real and they are something we need to grapple with.”

Other entrants were Michael Christie‘s Greenwood (represented by actress Keegan Connor Tracy); Silvia Moreno-Garcia‘s Mexican Gothic (represented by TikTok personality Tasnim Geedi); Dimitri Nasrallah‘s Hotline (represented by bhangra dancer Gurdeep Pandher); and Emily St. John Mandel‘s Station Eleven (represented by actor-director Michael Greyeyes) – the latter of which made it to the final round with Beaton’s Ducks.

To check out the finale and Kate Beaton’s post-game interview, here’s the video:


  1. torn about this one far more than i was when Essex County (go watch the TV mini series now! lol) was also nominated as i feel like this book was about 200 pages too long. it may have had to be padded for various reasons (publisher request, work vs book advance, etc.), but i feel like i could give the gists of the book in as an extended elevator pitch and concisely cover all the aspects. not to diminish the authors work, story or message, but that’s how i took it in. here’s hoping that simply having Graphic Novels get the highlight they deserve will continue in this high profile expose for the future.

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