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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Writers Union, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 3 of 3
1. Freedom to Read Week


Freedom to Read Week 2012

According to the Freedom to Read website: Freedom to Read Week is an annual event that encourages Canadians to think about and reaffirm their commitment to intellectual freedom, which is guaranteed them under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Freedom to Read Week is organized by the Freedom of Expression Committee of the Book and Periodical Council.

Freedom to Read Week is February 26 - March 3, 2012.

Each year a Canadian author is awarded the Writers' Union of Canada's 2012 Freedom to Read Award. This year's recipient is Lawrence Hill who was honoured because of "his reasoned and eloquent response to the threat to burn his novel The Book of Negroes," according to Greg Hollingshead, chair of the Writers Union.

The full story was covered in a past entry about Lawrence Hill. A Dutch group called Foundation Honor and Restore Victims of Slavery in Suriname had planned to burn Hill's book to protest the use of the word "negro" in the title. Ironically, the Book of Negroes' title comes from an actual historical document which recorded the names of 3,000 African slaves who were moved from New York to Nova Scotia, then to Africa.

It is not the first time the title has stirred controversy. The Book of Negroes was called Someone Knows My Name in the US and Australia, while in Quebec, it was given the name of the main character and titled Aminata.

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2. Freedom to Read Award Winner

Author Derek Finkle has received the Freedom to Read Award for 2008. He has been honoured by the Writers' Union of Canada for defending writers' rights. In his book, No Claim to Mercy, Finkle raised questions about the conviction of Robert Baltovich, who was found guilty of murdering his girlfriend Elizabeth Bain. When a new trial was ordered for Baltovich, Finkle's research into the book was subpoenaed by the Ontario Crown. Finkle, supported by five writer's organizations, successfully challenged the subpoena.

Stated Susan Swan, chair of the Writers' Union,
Derek Finkle showed considerable courage and determination in standing up to the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General and all its resources. Had the Crown succeeded in obtaining that material, it would have cast a chill on writers who are determined to unearth wrongful convictions in the justice system.

Each year, during Canada's Freedom to Read Week, the Union presents its Freedom to Read Award to an individual who has publicly defended freedom to read in this country.

Take the "Banned Book Challenge" which began during Freedom to Read Week and runs until June 30, 2008.

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3. Ten-year-old Awarded for Defense of Freedom to Read

Freedom to Read Poster 1994










A Toronto Star article entitled "Plucky Reader Honoured for Book's Defence" reports that ten-year-old Evie Freedman is being awarded with the Writers' Union Freedom to Read Award. Evie is a grade 5 student in the Halton Public School Board. When a number of school boards decided to pull Deborah Ellis' Three Wishes: Palestinia and Israel Children Speak, Evie was very vocal about the importance of this book and was widely quoted.

According to Evie, adults were always underestimating what kids can understand and she was adamant she didn't need anyone to tell her what she could read.

She went on to say that one particular line from Three Wishes stood out for her. "If children are tough enough to be bombed and starved, they're tough enough to read about it."

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