We’re overjoyed to announce that Sharon Bala‘s THE BOAT PEOPLE has been longlisted for Canada Reads 2018! Canada Reads is an annual contest in which five Canadian celebrity panellists champion a chosen work of Canadian fiction based on the novel’s literary qualities. The debates are broadcast on CBC Radio One, CBC-TV and can be live streamed at Cbcbooks.ca. Books are voted off by the panellists until one book is chosen as the title the entire country should read.
THE BOAT PEOPLE follows a group of refugees who survive a perilous ocean voyage only to face the threat of deportation amid accusations of terrorism. This striking and important debut novel published with McClelland & Stewart Canada on January 2nd and publishes with Doubleday US on January 9th – pre and post-publication this novel continues to make waves.
THE BOAT PEOPLE has been selected for Penguin Random House’s prestigious ONE WORLD, ONE BOOK campaign, has been selected as an Amazon.com book of the month and has garnered rave pre-publication praise we’re proud to share below.
The shortlist for Canada Reads 2018 will be announced on January 30th. For the full longlist, please visit Cbc.ca/books/canadareads2018longlist.
Congratulations, Sharon, on this well-deserved achievement!
Pre-publication Praise for THE BOAT PEOPLE
“Timely and engrossing…This is a powerful debut.”
“This earnest debut novel forcefully explores the issues surrounding immigration…deeply moving and nuanced, The Boat People asks what price a country is willing to pay when public safety comes at the cost of human lives.”
“A real ship of refugees inspires a novel about the messy consequences of war Memorable…Chilling…”
“The Boat People will – and should… – linger long in the mind as an almost Graham-Greene-esque thriller about Canada’s Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora. Homeric in her narrative arc, Bala’s novel is rhetorically purposive – but poetically, softly rhetorical…Bala is ahead by a century in the cricket score of politically powerful contemporary fiction.”
–Atlantic Books Today
“In this moving novel, hundreds of Sri Lankan refugees make a dangerous voyage to seek asylum in Canada. The threat of deportation soon follows their arrival, sparking questions about compassion and humanity and identity—identity, in all its transformative complexities.”
“A sharp examination of the global refugee crisis from both human and bureaucratic perspectives.”
“The Boat People tackles a subject that we all should be thinking about and working on, together, today.”
“The Boat People is a powerful, gripping moral drama told with deep compassion and humanity. Sharon Bala takes us behind the headlines about refugees and asylum seekers straight into the beating hearts of unforgettable human beings. A timely tale and a beautiful, remarkable debut.”
-Lynne Kutsukake, author of The Translation of Love
“This wise and compassionate novel is an intimate portrait of one of the great humanitarian crises of our time. Its power lies in its breadth, for it examines not just those who come to our country seeking refuge, but also those who determine their fate. As such it implicates us all in the ongoing crisis.”
-Shyam Selvadurai, author of The Hungry Ghosts and Funny Boy
“The Boat People is a beautifully crafted story with a big heart. This novel has an urgency and relevance that cuts to the bone and will resonate with readers of all stripes. Bala offers no easy answers and no political posturing, but her magnificent storytelling will leave readers wondering about their own convictions, asking themselves, ‘What would I do? What would I have done?’ I love this book and, somehow, I empathized and understood every character’s motivation and heart, despite their seemingly opposing stances. The spirits of Bala’s complicated, well-developed characters will linger with you like ghosts; you will look for them in the newspaper, on the evening news, everywhere, and when you encounter them, you will pause and wonder, not only about them but about yourself.”
-Michel Stone, author of Border Child
“The Boat People is a burning flare of a novel, at once incendiary and illuminating. With a rare combination of precision, empathy and insight, Sharon Bala has crafted an unflinching examination of what happens when the fundamental human need for safety collides with the cold calculus of bureaucracy. In the best tradition of fearless literature, it shatters our comfortable illusions about who we really are and reveals just how asymmetrical the privilege of belonging can be. This is a brilliant debut – a story that needs to be told, told beautifully.”
-Omar El Akkad, author of American War