One eRead Canada 2024


This year’s choice for the One eRead Canada campaign is Hotline by Dimitri Nasrallah. First, a little bit about One eRead Canada. It’s a yearly initiative started by the Canadian Urban Libraries Council (CULC) to promote digital literature and eAudiobooks (electronic audiobooks) as formats for reading. For that reason, every year, one book by a Canadian author is made available as an eBook (in English and in French) and an eAudiobook with no restrictions on access, no need to place a hold, and no waiting lists for the month of April. For us at Vaughan Public Library, that means you can download it on the OverDrive website, through the Libby app, on Hoopla, and on Cantook Station. The eBook will also be instantaneously available in French (translated by Daniel Grenier) on these platforms. For Francophones with an interest in the audiobook, it’s being offered through “Service québécois du livre adapté (SQLA) from Bibliothèque et Archives nationale du Québec (BANQ), and in English and French from Centre for Equitable Library Access (CELA), and National Network for Equitable Library Service (NNELS).”1 One eRead is also a national book club, author events included, to facilitate a nationwide conversation about the work. CULC’s intent is also to stimulate a dialogue around the importance of access to such digital content. You may have noticed that not every eBook is available for instant download on apps and websites like Libby and Hoopla. Publishers negotiate with vendors and libraries to determine things like how many simultaneous uses of an eBook will be permitted, how many digital copies will be available, and what restrictions there will be on use. The cost of these resources is an ongoing issue that libraries have been dealing with for quite some time. Part of the purpose of the campaign is to encourage awareness around the need for fair pricing. I could digress here…ad nauseum, but suffice it to say, libraries are constantly having to prove the worth and justify the cost of the essential services, resources, and programs we provide. Fair pricing for eBooks and eAudiobooks would go a long way.


Hotline by Dimitri Nasrallah

Turning to this year’s pick, Hotline is a novel about a widowed mother and newcomer facing racism and other obstacles in 1980s Montreal. Last year, it was a contender for Canada Reads but lost out to Ducks by Kate Beaton, championed by Mattea Roach. The work also received the honour of being longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize in 2022, losing out to The Sleeping Car Porter by Suzette Mayr (written about here by our own Alyssia). Hotline’s story is somewhat based on Dimitri Nasrallah’s own mother’s journey from Lebanon to Montreal. As such, it is a deeply personal narrative. Protagonist Muna Heddad can’t secure employment, despite being a qualified French teacher. Her only option is to work as a telephone operator for a weight-loss centre’s hotline. Nasrallah has said that the novel is an ‘homage’ to the immense challenge his mother took on by moving to a new country and trying to successfully raise children. The anonymity provided by the telephone works as a literary device in the text. Characters are granted the freedom to express things they would never say face-to-face.

There’s a national Facebook group and Instagram account for those who want to join the conversation about this book online. In addition, there will be two online events happening in partnership with CBC/Radio-Canada:

Tuesday, April 23 at 7:00 pm

Dimitri Nasrallah and translator Daniel Grenier will be at Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec in Montréal, interviewed in French by a Radio-Canada host.

Thursday, April 25 at 7:00 pm

Dimitri Nasrallah will be interviewed in Ottawa by CBC host Alan Neal of All in a Day. This event will be in conjunction with Library and Archives Canada and Ottawa Public Library.

Both these interviews will be live-streamed, recorded, and posted on the One eRead website.

For fans of Hotline, or for those with an interest in similar stories, here are some adult fiction recommendations by Canadian authors from our catalogue:

Ghost Forest by Pik-Shuen Fung


Debut tale of a Chinese family’s emigration from Hong Kong to Vancouver. This novel examines the so-called ‘astronaut’ families of this period (where the father stayed behind to work) and the impacts of being separated from a parent.


Home of the Floating Lily by Silmy Abdullah

A debut short story collection focused on immigrants from Bangladesh, living in one particular neighbourhood in Toronto.

The Cure for Drowning by Loghan Paylor


This genre-defying historical, magical realist novel featuring queer characters follows non-binary character Kit McNair. Encompassing a love triangle, elements of Celtic mythology, and touchstones of Canadian history, this one is sure to be a fascinating read.


  1. Un livrel Canada / One eRead Canada 2024 – Canadian Urban Libraries Council ( ↩︎

About Claire

Claire is an Information Assistant at Vaughan Public Libraries. Avid cooker, concertgoer, coffee drinker, TV and movie watcher, washi tape enthusiast, and unabashed fan of romance in all its varieties (even Hallmark movies).  |  Meet the team