via The Writers’ Union of Canada
This year’s award calls attention to recent library closings
The Writers’ Union of Canada (TWUC) recognizes the work and accomplishments of scientist Eric Marshall and journalist Chris Turner with its 2014 Freedom to Read Award
Eric Marshall, a retired biologist living in British Columbia, built a collection of over 200,000 books that became the Eric Marshall Aquatic Research Library at the University of Manitoba. Marshall’s library was recently closed, the result of federal cuts to and reorganization at Canada’s national library and archive system.
Chris Turner is a Calgary-based journalist and author who has written extensively about the related issues of library closings and prohibitions on federal scientists speaking publicly about their work. Turner’s book, The War on Science, was released this month.
“The closing of federal libraries has been a focus for TWUC in the past year,” said Dorris Heffron, chair of TWUC. “Reports of lost and destroyed works in our national collections are greatly disturbing to Canada’s writers, who have a long history of both contributing to and using our federal library system. The incoming Chair of TWUC, Harry Thurston, is an award-winning science writer who has personally used the Marshall Library as a research facility.”
The Freedom to Read Award is offered annually to an individual or individuals whose work has contributed to the national discussion around issues of freedom of expression and the freedom to read.
“The Union has been offering this award for many years,” added John Degen, TWUC executive director. “It’s one of the meaningful ways Canada’s writers participate in Freedom to Read Week.”
Previous recipients have included Toronto publisher, Patsy Aldana, Quebec writer Charles Montpetit, Janine Fuller of Little Sisters bookstore in Vancouver, lawyer Clayton Ruby, novelist Lawrence Hill, and writers John Ralston Saul and Alan Borovoy. Freedom to Read Week (February 23-March 1, 2014) is an initiative of the Book and Periodical Council (freedomtoread.ca).
The Writers’ Union of Canada’s 2014 Freedom to Read Award will be presented at the 30th anniversary celebration of Freedom to Read Week, February 25, 7 pm at the Gladstone Hotel, 1214 Queen St West in Toronto.