Local Yukoners will face-off to defend their favourite books as part of the Northern Lights Writers Conference, running Jan 23-23. Author of Best Laid Plans and 2013 Canada Reads winner Terry Fallis will be “refereeing” the event. The winning book goes home with the glory, the winning contender goes home with money for a charity of their choice. Entrance is by donation, with the donations going to the winning charity. See this battle royale on Sunday, Jan. 24 at 3 p.m. in the multipurpose room of the Kwanlin Dun Cultural Centre.

Here’s a sneak peak at the lineup:


Contender: Melissa Atkinson, Lawyer

Defending: Through Black Spruce by Joseph Boyden

For: Hospice Yukon

About the Contender: “When I entered into politics it really cut into my personal reading time – nowadays, I spend most of my time reading reports, papers and agenda packages – so I was excited to be part of Battle of the Books and dive into some great Canadian fiction.  When I’m not being a politician, I’m an engineer, a sessional lecturer at Yukon College, and a recreation programmer.”

When He Read It:  “I read it for the first time over the holidays.  I was dealing with my own family loss at the time. It made it very personal for me.”

Why He’s Betting On It:  “Through Black Spruce won the coveted Giller Prize for Canadian fiction in 2008. I chose it because of its themes of the bush, the outside, and loss. It is a dark horse of a novel. I think the story resonates with Yukoners in that it explores the North and its love-hate fascination with the South.”