Monday, March 09, 2009

Canada Reads The Book of Negroes

Lawrence Hill’s bestselling 2007 novel, The Book of Negroes (HarperCollins Canada) has won the 2009 Canada Reads. From the Quill & Quire blog:
Hill’s book, the saga of a slave in the 1700s, was named the winner of the annual CBC Radio competition Friday morning, beating out the runner-up, Brian Francis’s debut novel Fruit (ECW Press). A Canada Reads win typically represents a major a sales boost, possibly tens of thousands of copies.

The Book of Negroes has already been a top seller over the past two years; HarperCollins vice-president and publisher Iris Tupholme says around 200,000 copies are in print, with another reprint in the works. “The book’s had a very strange flight path,” says Hill. “It started modestly and it just sort of grew and grew and grew.… Usually, when a book comes out, if it’s not knocking people’s socks off in the first few months, bookstores start sending it back.” Asked about how many likely buyers are still out there in the Canadian market, Tupholme is bold: “We’re not even halfway there.”
Q&Q has put together quite a bit more on this story and it’s here.

In the United States, the book was published as Someone Knows My Name (Norton). Last year, we talked about why the publishers felt the name change was necessary. That piece is here.

You can read more about CBC’s Canada Reads program -- and see how crazy passionate Canadians get about their books! -- right here.



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