Weakerthans singer / songwriter John K. Samson recently participated in CBC Radio One program Canada Reads as part of a panel of five Canadian personalities. The show, hosted by Bill Richardson, featured Samson along with author / lawyer Maureen McTeer, filmmaker, journalist and author Nelofer Pazira, author Susan Musgrave and Kids In The Hall performer Scott Thompson. The program took the form of a "battle of the books" with the panel debating and voting each week to choose a winner. The book Samson chose, A Complicated Kindness by Miriam Toews, emerged the winner late this week. The novel is described as a "tale of a sixteen-year-old who is struggling to find her place in her mixed-up family, in her Mennonite village, and in the world at large." Samson commented on the story's protagonist: "I think she'll be one of those characters who inspire other books. There are girls reading this now who will go on to write other novels."
Readings from A Complicated Kindness will begin April 24 on CBC Radio One. Samson is also slated to return to next year's Canada Reads panel. The 2007 edition will feature panellists from previous years including Steven Page of Barenaked Ladies, Jim Cuddy of Blue Rodeo and writers Donna Morrissey and Denise Bombardier.
The Weakerthans frontman has been active in the literary field as a founding member of Arbeiter Ring Publishing, which specializes in books with an emphasis on social and political issues.