The Writers’ Union of Canada (TWUC) is proud to present the Freedom to Read Award as part of the celebration of Freedom to Read Week across Canada in February of each year. The award recognizes work in support of freedom of expression.

Previous winners have included author Lawrence Hill for his response to the threat to burn his novel The Book of Negroes, Quebec writer Charles Montpetit for his tireless work to help preserve the freedom to read and write in this country, Janine Fuller of Little Sisters bookstore in Vancouver for her ongoing challenges to Canada's ability to ban books at the border, and Toronto lawyer Clayton Ruby for his many years of working to fight censorship.

TWUC is pleased to announce that author and activist Farzana Doctor is the recipient of the 2023 Freedom to Read Award. Farzana Doctor is the author of four novels and a recent collection of poetry. For many years, she curated the Brockton Reading Series in her west Toronto neighbourhood. A long-time volunteer with The Writers’ Union of Canada, Doctor also volunteers with WeSpeakOut, a global group that is working to ban female genital cutting in her Dawoodi Bohra community. She co-founded the End FGM Canada Network. Doctor is also a professional psychotherapist. Read the full press release here.

Lawrence Hill, Winner of the 2012 Freedom to Read Award

"I was so honoured to received the Freedom to Read award, and was tickled to receive it after my daughter, Evangeline Freedman, had received it in a previous year. Apart from that unusual family connection to the award, I was honoured — and feel that it is a vital award — especially given that writers (including journalists) are at increasing threat, and their work seems even more important in these perilous times, when democracy is so threatened in North America and beyond."

Deborah Campbell, Winner of the 2017 Freedom to Read Award

"I was thrilled to receive the Freedom to Read Award because it acknowledges the struggle to tell stories that are rarely heard. It's especially significant for me, as a nonfiction writer, because of the increasing threats to the very notion of facts. We live in a time when writing and journalism are under siege, and this award is an important step towards protecting the values we hold dear."

Freedom to Read Award Winners