Freedom to Read Week in Canada Starts Sunday

National event celebrates free expression, encourages discussion and debate

TORONTO, Feb. 17, 2015 /CNW/ - From February 22 to 28, Canadians will mark the 31st annual Freedom to Read Week, a national celebration of freedom of choice, freedom to read, freedom to think, freedom of speech and freedom of the press. The event is organized by the Book and Periodical Council's Freedom of Expression Committee.

Events take place in schools, libraries and public spaces from Dartmouth, N.S., to Port Moody, B.C., and include reading marathons, "banned book" clubs and discussions about newsgathering in a transformed media landscape. Speakers include journalists, novelists, librarians, students and readers.

Recent news stories that will form part of this year's Freedom to Read Week discussions:

  • In its latest annual report, the Canadian Library Association records 155 reasons given for 85 challenges to books, magazines, DVDs and library policies. Full report at
  • Petitioners describe Raziel Reid's young-adult novel as "offensive" and draw international attention by demanding the revocation of the book's Governor General's Literary Award. Simultaneously, CBC's Canada Reads promotes the novel as a "book to break barriers," and libraries across the country record high numbers of holds from patrons eager to read it.
  • Following the Charlie Hebdo shootings in January 2015, Canadian media debate the distinction between free expression, offensive expression and hateful expression, and where to draw the line in deciding what to print.

Three awards for advocacy in the field of free expression that will be presented during Freedom to Read Week:

  • Brian Campbell receives the Canadian Library Association's Advancement of Intellectual Freedom in Canada Award. Full announcement at
  • Ron Brown is honoured with the Writers' Union of Canada's Freedom to Read Award. Full announcement at
  • The winner of the Calgary Public Library's Freedom of Expression Award will be announced during Freedom to Read Week.

A complete list of events across Canada, plus information and media resources is available at

Freedom to Read Week is generously supported by the Canada Council for the Arts.

SOURCE Book and Periodical Council

For further information: and interview opportunities, contact: Becky Toyne, | Freedom to Read Week,


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