Peter Kavanagh (producer)

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Peter Gerard Kavanagh (June 12, 1953 – September 7, 2016) was a Canadian radio producer, television producer, and writer with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) and CBC Radio.[1] Kavanagh was the creator of Canada Reads, an annual "battle of the books" competition which was first broadcast on CBC Radio in 2002.[2] Kavanagh first conceived of the idea for what would become Canada Reads after learning of a similar program on public radio in the United States.[2] On the Canada Reads program, five prominent Canadians, known as "advocates," each select a book. CBC Radio listeners then choose the winner.[2] Past winners of the competition have included Michael Ondaatje, Joseph Boyden and Kim Thúy.[2] Kavanagh was a co-producer on the first season of Canada Reads before leaving the show to pursue other CBC projects.[2]

Kavanagh was born in Deep River, Ontario, on June 12, 1953, as the third of five children of Cyril and Thelma Kavanagh.[2] He contracted paralytic poliomyelitis when he was just two months old and spent much of his early infancy and childhood as a patient at The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto.[2] He endured medical procedures and surgeries throughout his life.[1] When he was 60-years old, Kavanagh underwent a surgery to lengthen one of his legs, making both legs the same length for the first time.[1][2] As a result of the operation, he had to learn how to walk again.[2] He documented his experience in his memoir, The Man Who Learned to Walk Three Times, which was published in 2013.[2]

Kavanagh retired from the CBC in 2013.[2]

Peter Kavanagh died of a heart attack on September 7, 2016, at the age of 63.[1][2] He was survived by his wife, Debi Goodwin, and their daughter, Jane.[1][2]


  1. ^ a b c d e Enright, Michael (2016-09-11). "Peter Kavanagh". CBC Radio. Retrieved 2016-10-04.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Fitterman, Lisa (2016-10-02). "Peter Kavanagh: Author and radio producer had a 'furious intellect'". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2016-10-04.