Author Deborah Campbell Wins Freedom to Read Award

The Writers' Union of Canada
Press Release

Author Deborah Campbell Wins Freedom to Read Award
- author of A Disappearance in Damascus honoured by The Writers’ Union of Canada -

Toronto – February 27, 2017 – The Writers’ Union of Canada (TWUC) is proud to announce that Deborah Campbell, journalist and author, is the recipient of the 2017 Freedom to Read Award. The award is presented annually by TWUC in recognition of work that is passionately supportive of free expression. Past recipients include Mohamed Fahmy, Janine Fuller, and Lawrence Hill.

“There is so much to admire in the work of Deborah Campbell,” noted TWUC Chair, George Fetherling. “Whether she is writing about war artists, international care-givers, the bafflingly complex politics of nuclear arms, or the ongoing refugee crisis in the Middle East, she does not shy from controversy, and is devoted to letting all voices find a place on her page. The jury was unanimous in its choice of Ms. Campbell.”

Deborah Campbell’s 2016 book A Disappearance in Damascus: A Story of Friendship and Survival in the Shadow of War (Knopf Canada) won the Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction, and is celebrated for its complex depiction of refugee life and the courageous and dangerous work done by war zone “fixers,” as they help to tell true stories of conflict at the risk of their freedom and lives. The book gives readers first-person access into the politics and cultures that have led to the Syrian refugee crisis. 

February 26 to March 4 is Freedom to Read Week in Canada: a national annual celebration that encourages Canadians to think deeply about and value their right to read, write and publish freely. The week has become a regular feature of the annual programming of schools, libraries and literary groups across Canada. Freedom to Read Week is a project of the Book and Periodical Council, the umbrella organization for publishing in Canada. TWUC is a proud partner and supporter of Freedom to Read Week. For more information, please visit For more background on Deborah Campbell, please visit her website.


The Writers’ Union of Canada is our country’s national organization representing more than 2,000 professional authors of books. The Union is dedicated to fostering writing in Canada, and promoting the rights, freedoms, and economic well-being of all writers.

For additional information:
John Degen, Executive Director                               
416.703.8982 Ext. 221