From February 26 to March 4, 2017, Canadians will mark the 33rd annual Freedom to Read Week, a national 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. The event is organized by the Book and Periodical Council’s Freedom of Expression Committee.
Events take place across the country in schools, libraries, universities and community spaces. They range from free expression panel discussions and banned books clubs to public readings and social media campaigns. Speakers include authors Raziel Reid, Harold Johnson and Hasan Namir; Director of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association’s Privacy, Surveillance and Technology Project, Brenda McPhail; and librarians, students, professors, readers and more.
Highlights of Freedom to Read Week events include:
- Google Is Burning: Book Censorship in the Digital Age, a discussion led by Raziel Reid on boundaries in CanLit, the suppression of young adult literature, and book burning in the 21st century, will be held at Mount Royal University’s Lincoln Park Campus in Calgary on February 28th.
- The Edmonton Public Library will host A Conversation about Reconciliation with Truth and Reconciliation Commissioners Chief Wilton Littlechild and Dr. Marie Wilson on Tuesday, February 28th. The session will be moderated by Honorary Witness Shelagh Rogers.
- Dr. Robert Bittner who will hold a talk exploring censorship of LGBTQ+ literature for children and young adults at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver on February 27th.
- A discussion on the history of book banning, led by University of Regina professor Andrew Stubb, will take place at the John M. Harper Branch Library in Waterloo, Ontario, on February 28th.
A complete list of Freedom to Read Week events and interactive displays taking place across Canada is available at freedomtoread.ca.