John Ralston Saul to Receive the Freedom to Read Award

Toronto – The Writers’ Union of Canada is pleased to announce that the recipient of the Union’s Freedom to Read Award for 2011 is John Ralston Saul, the current president of PEN International. The presentation will take place during Freedom to Read Week at the Gladstone Hotel on the evening of Wednesday, February 23. The evening will also feature a panel discussion on “Who Decides What Our Children Will Read.”

“We are absolutely delighted to be able to present our award to John Ralston Saul,” said the Chair of the Writers’ Union, Alan Cumyn. “He has worked tirelessly over many years as president of Canadian PEN and now of PEN International to protect the rights of Canadians and those around the globe to read, write and express their opinions without fear of reprisal.”

John Ralston Saul is a multiple award winner for his many titles, including the Governor General’s non-fiction award for Unconscious Civilization. He has to date received more than a dozen honorary doctorates, in addition to his own degree. Among his many worldwide honours, he is a Companion of the Order of Canada and Chevalier des Arts and des Lettres de France. His latest title, a national best-seller, is A Fair Country, Telling the Truth About Canada.

“We as a Union are honoured to celebrate Freedom to Read Week by recognizing John Ralston Saul and other previous recipients for helping to make Canada safe to express our views in writing and to create works of literature and art which in some cases may be controversial,” added Kelly Duffin, the Executive Director of the Union. “We are also proud to claim him as one of our own as he is longstanding Union member.”

Among the former recipients of the Writers’ Union’s Freedom to Read Award are human rights lawyer Clayton Ruby, and last year’s recipient A. Alan Borovoy former legal counsel to the Canadian Civil Liberties Association.

The Writers’ Union of Canada is our country’s national organization representing professional authors of books. Founded in 1973, the Union is dedicated to fostering writing in Canada, and promoting the rights, freedoms, and economic well-being of all writers. For more information, please visit

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For additional information, please contact:
Kelly Duffin | Executive Director | The Writers’ Union of Canada
416.703.8982 Ext. 221 |