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Today, Feb. 6, 2013, we continue Tom Allen's Shift interviews with this year's Canada Reads authors. Canada Reads is staging a turf war for 2013, with the five competing books each representing a different region of the country.

Those five books will be defended by five celebrity champions and battled down to one winner — the book all Canadians should read.

Each author has provided us with a playlist of songs that accompanies their book. This week, Tom will sit down with each author, play their chosen songs on Shift and delve into their books. 

The Jane Urquhart playlist

Jane Urquhart is the author of Away, which is representing Ontario. It's being defended by Charlotte Gray.

Audio Press play to listen to the full interview and musical picks of Jane Urquhart with Shift host Tom Allen. 


Here are the details of Urquhart's five-song playlist:

1. Loreena McKennitt, “She Moved Through the Fair.”

"It seems to me that the strange, almost mystical minor tone of the music is like the tone of this book. And the lyrics describe at least one version of the state of being 'away' as in 'called away to another world.'  But the whole tone of the song (which is ancient Irish traditional) is eerily and seductively trance-inducing.”

2. Sinéad O’Connor, “I am Stretched on Your Grave."

“This was an anonymous poem (translated from the Irish, likely by the wonderful Frank O'Connor) that, along with other ancient and anonymous Irish poems, I read often while I was writing Away. I chose the song because I like the way she worked with tradition, taking from it what she needed and then taking her own risks with the material. That, to me, sums up what I was trying to do in this book. I was working with myth and history but I wanted to break apart even my own expectations of what myth and history could deliver in a book. And, of course, listening to this, I think of my first character Mary/Moira who, in a sense, was truly stretched on someone's grave.”

3. Martha Wainwright, “Proserpina."

"'Proserpina,' sung by Martha Wainwright (and written by the late and so wonderfully great Kate McGarrigle), is a song that made me think of Away the very first time that I heard it (obviously long after I had written the book). This, I think, is because in some essential way, Away is about mothers and daughters, about the separation of mothers and daughters, and about the grief that attends that separation. About Eileen, who grows up without her mother because her mother, like Proserpina's mother, inhabits a primeval, organic, nature-driven world. And, of course, with regard to narrative, this great last song of Kate McGarrigle's mythical in origin."

4. Feist, “The Bad in Each Other."

“Speaks for itself.”

5. Chor Leoni, “The Maple Leaf Forever,” music by Alexander Muir.

"On a playlist full of women there must be some balance. The all-male choir Chor Leoni sing "The Maple Leaf Forever" because they love it. This Vancouver choir takes this pride and passion with them whenever they are on the road. Listen for the alternate lyrics."

You can contact us at Shift with your ideas, questions or anything else by sending us a message on our Facebook page. Through email, you can reach show producers Alison Howard (, Alex Redekop ( or Pete Morey ( ).


The David Bergen playlist
The Richard Wagamese playlist
Canada Reads website

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Canada Reads on Shift: the Jane Urquhart playlist

Today, Feb. 6, 2013, we continue Tom Allen's Shift interviews with this year's Canada Reads authors.…


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