Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

CBC Canada Reads Interview Series: Trent McClellan

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Trent McClellan

We've talked to the CBC Canada Reads authors, and now we will hear from their champions — the panellists who will debate until one book emerges victorious.

Comedian Trent McClellan will advocate for fellow Newfoundlander Lisa Moore's February (House of Anansi). While the comic's selection of a book dealing with tragedy and grief might initially seem surprising, Trent tells us why February was an irresistible choice and is a sure bet for a Canada Reads victory. We also speak with Trent about why Atlantic Canada turns out so many amazingly talented writers and how he'll celebrate if February takes the title.

Hosted by popular CBC personality and author Jian Ghomeshi, Canada Reads pits five fantastic Canadian books against one another in a (mostly) friendly competition, with each book championed by a Canadian celebrity in a series of broadcast debates. For more information about CBC Canada Reads, please visit their website. The 2013 debates run from February 11-14.

Be sure to tune in to CBC Radio One (99.1 FM) next week to catch the debates! And let us know which book you're rooting for by answering our latest poll.

Open Book:

Tell us three things that make your selected book the best on the list.

Trent McClellan:

February is heartfelt and deals with a topic that isn't fashionable. February provides hope for anyone who has lost a loved one while being brave enough to use the tragedy of the preventable Ocean Ranger disaster as the epicentre. February precisely maps how the mind works with regards to memory and deciding the obligations of our lives.


What makes you particularly qualified to defend this title?


As a Newfoundlander, I remember the day the Ocean Ranger went down and it has been a childhood memory that has stuck with me. I love a good story and have always been fascinated by the mindset of those who are left behind when a loved one passes on. I've lost people very dear to me and I personally have struggled with that journey. Lisa Moore really gets into guts of how tough it is to move forward in life and I can relate to that. Many people were surprised that a comedian like myself chose a book with such sombre tone. I'm a comedian, but I'm captivated by a great dramatic story like everyone else. Also, February is ultimately hopeful which is in essence is what Atlantic Canadians and Newfoundlanders in particular have in abundance. When times are dark, hope lights the way.


Where were you the first time you read your selected book?


I read most of February at my home in Calgary but also read different parts at various places across the country while traveling for shows.


How would you describe the literary culture of the region you're defending?


The Atlantic Provinces have always produced writers who have captured the essence of the human spirit very well. There has also been a constant ability to use the geography of the region almost as a character. In my experience, Atlantic Canadians are very dialed in to people. Relationships are greatly valued and a good story is also quite valuable. As a live performer I have always found Atlantic Canadian audiences to be some of the best because they have a respect for story tellers and performers. It's built into the culture there.


If your writer wins the competition, how will you celebrate?


A hug and high five. Honestly though, it would be a very happy day but Lisa Moore's work would deserve all the praise.

Trent McClellan is currently performing coast to coast in clubs and corporate venues week in and week out. Trent has been extremely popular on the festival circuit as well, having played the Halifax Comedy Festival, Moncton Hubcap Comedy Festival, the New Screech Comedy Festival and the Just For Laughs Festival! In addition to his festival schedule he has been on CBC, CTV and the Comedy Network with his own Comedy Now special.

For more information about February please visit the Anansi website.

Buy this book at your local independent bookstore or online at Chapters/Indigo or Amazon.

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