Announcing Freedom to Read Week 2017: February 26 to March 4

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Events across Canada celebrate freedom of expression, challenge censorship



“Freedom of expression is a fundamental right in any democracy because we are our stories. Without our stories we do not exist.” Camilla Gibb, author of This Is Happy

Toronto, February 7, 2017—The Book and Periodical Council and its Freedom of Expression Committee are pleased to announce the 33rd 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 26 to March 4, 2017.

Despite having strong traditions of free expression and free inquiry, Canada also periodically faces threats to both. Freedom to Read Week encourages Canadians to be aware of challenges to books, magazines and other media 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 draws attention to how that freedom can be, and often is, stifled.

“Freedom of expression is an essential and precious right, which becomes more important and necessary as we combat the growth of intolerance worldwide,” said Marg Anne Morrison, chair of the Book and Periodical Council’s Freedom of Expression Committee.

Freedom to Read Week incorporates public readings and panel discussions, challenged book and magazine displays and a resource guide for librarians and teachers. Public events take place in locations across the country, including libraries, bookstores, schools and cultural venues; speakers include novelists and poets, investigative journalists, librarians and readers. These activities promote public engagement in communities across the country. Highlights this year:

  • Toronto has proclaimed the week of February 26th–March 4th Freedom to Read Week.
  • Author and editor Charles Montpetit is the BPC’s Free Expression Champion of 2017.
  • The Writers’ Union of Canada will announce the winner of the Freedom to Read Award.
  • Several public libraries will host Get Caught Reading events.
  • The Toronto Public Library will host an Uncensored Writing Workshop on March 1st.

A complete list of events in locations across Canada is available at; 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

About the Book and Periodical Council
The Book and Periodical Council 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



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