PEN Canada looking for champions of free expression

Nominations sought for the PEN Canada/Ken Filkow Prize

TORONTO, June 14, 2017 /CNW/ - Nominations for the PEN Canada/Ken Filkow prize are now open. The $1,000 annual prize is awarded to an individual or group who has advanced freedom of expression in Canada.

Named in memory of Kenneth A. Filkow, Q.C., a distinguished Winnipeg lawyer, former chair of the Manitoba Human Rights Commission and active member of PEN Canada's Canadian Issues Committee, the prize celebrates champions of freedom of expression. The right to freedom of opinion and expression is protected under Article 19 of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and enshrined as a fundamental freedom in section 2(b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Funded by Cynthia Wine and Philip Slayton, the prize is juried by current members of the Canadian Issues Committee. In 2016, the prize was awarded to author and blogger Raihan Abir, who fled Bangladesh to Canada in 2015 amid threats on his life. Read more.

Nominees may be anyone ­– authors, journalists, public servants, scientists, professors, business people, editors, publishers, organizations and concerned citizens – whose work has advanced freedom of expression in Canada. In the case of individuals, special consideration will be given to those whose actions have demonstrated personal courage that may have involved putting personal interests on the line (career advancement, reputation, ties of family or friendship, etc.). In the case of organizations, special consideration will be given to those who have acted in a way that protected freedom of expression despite potential damage to their or their members' financial or other interests.

Nomination Guidelines:
Nominators should provide a description of the candidate's contribution, with specific examples and supporting documentation that can be verified by PEN Canada, and contact information for the candidate. Nomination forms can be found at and are due by August 8, 2017.

PEN Canada is a nonpartisan organization of writers that works with others to defend freedom of expression as a basic human right at home and abroad. PEN Canada promotes literature, fights censorship, helps free persecuted writers from prison, and assists writers living in exile in Canada.

Our thanks to CNW Group for sponsoring this announcement.


For further information: Amy Smith, PEN Canada,, 416-703-8448 ext. 2223.


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