11/27/2013 10:02 EST | Updated 01/27/2014 05:59 EST

Canada Reads finalists, celebrity panellists announced

Host Jian Ghomeshi today announced the final contenders and celebrity panellists who will defend the books in the upcoming 2014 season.of Canada Reads. 

The list includes:

- Olympic gold medallist Donovan Bailey, who will defend Half Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan.

- Comedian and writer Samantha Bee, who will defend Cockroach by Rawi Hage.

- Actress Sarah Gadon will defend Annabel by Kathleen Winter.

- Hip-hop artist, broadcaster and educator Wab Kinew, who will defend The Orenda by Joseph Boyden.

- Politician, broadcaster and diplomat Stephen Lewis, who will defend The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood.

For 2014, Canada Reads asked, "What is the one novel that could change Canada?" to find the book that change readers' hearts, minds and lives, ultimately with the goal of inspiring social change.

Readers responded with thousands of recommendations. Over the last month, they were whittled down to 40, 10 and now the final five.

Last year's champion, Trent McClellan, who won with his defence of Lisa Moore's February, was announced Tuesday as this year's correspondent, and will be blogging on the Canada Reads website through the duration of the competition.

From March 3-6, the panellists will debate the merits of their books during four hour-long live debates in front of audiences.

The debates will air on CBC Radio One, CBC Books, documentary channel and CBC Television.