Toronto, February 20, 2018 — The Book and Periodical Council (BPC) and its Freedom of Expression Committee are pleased to announce the 34th annual Freedom to Read Week (FTRW) in Canada. A national celebration of freedom of expression that takes place in libraries, schools and arts venues across Canada, this year’s program runs from February 25 to March 3, 2018.
Despite having strong traditions of free expression and free inquiry, Canada also has a long-standing tradition of censorship. Freedom to Read Week encourages Canadians to be aware of ongoing threats and challenges to intellectual freedom and to maintain the open, creative environment in which everyone thrives, including authors and publishers. The freedom to read and write is crucial to the health of the literary arts in Canada, and every year FTRW brings to light how that freedom can be, and often is, stifled.
Freedom to Read Week incorporates public readings and panel discussions, challenged book and magazine displays and a resource guide for librarians and teachers. Events take place across the country in schools, libraries and community spaces from Winnipeg and Halifax to Campbell River and Fort McMurray. They include discussions about library access and intellectual freedom, open mics, T-shirt design contests and more!
Speakers include illustrator Jillian Tamaki, authors Cordelia Strube and Jael Richardson, journalist Desmond Cole and lawyer Marie Henein as well as librarians, students, professors, readers and more. These activities promote public engagement in communities across the country. Highlights:
- Dorothy Macnaughton is our Freedom to Read Champion for her fight for accessible reading materials
- Graphic novelist Jeff Lemire (Essex County, Secret Path) illustrated this year’s FTRW poster and kit
- The City of Toronto and the City of Richmond have officially proclaimed February 25 – March 3 “Freedom to Read Week”
- The Writers’ Union of Canada will announce the winner of the Freedom to Read Award on Monday, February 26th at writersunion.ca
- PEN Canada hosts “Very Political and Unapologetically Black: Desmond Cole in Conversation with Jael Richardson” at the Lillian H. Smith Library in Toronto
- Vancouver Public Library hosts “Censored: Is This the New Media Landscape?” with journalists and information professionals Tina House, Gurpreet Singh and Laura Tribe at its Central Branch
A complete list of events in locations across Canada is available at freedomtoread.ca; it will be updated as new events are confirmed. Event organizers are encouraged to share their plans with Freedom to Read Week organizers through the same web page.
About Freedom to Read Week
Freedom to Read Week is organized by the Book and Periodical Council’s Freedom of Expression Committee, a group committed to promoting intellectual freedom in Canada. Since 1978, the Freedom of Expression Committee has worked with educators, librarians, publishers, writers, booksellers, advocacy groups and the community at large to provide information that addresses censorship and book and magazine challenges in Canada.
Freedom to Read Week is generously supported by the Canada Council for the Arts. For more information, visit freedomtoread.ca.
About the Book and Periodical Council
The Book and Periodical Council (BPC) is the umbrella organization for Canadian associations that are, or whose members are, primarily involved with the writing, editing, translating, publishing, producing, distributing, lending, marketing, reading and selling of written words.
For more information, visit thebpc.ca.