Beyond Book Burning: Disappearing Books in the Digital Age


7:00 PM - 8:30 PM


Toronto Reference Library
789 Yonge Street, Toronto, ON, M4W 2G8

A conversation on free speech in a borderless world.
Ours is an age of unparalleled freedom to publish and share ideas, but digital technology has also created new challenges and gatekeepers. Some of these are direct and obvious, but many others operate stealthily, through the invisible hand of the market, or obscured by a smokescreen of corporate, social and political rationales. Each year an unknown number of books never get published for these reasons and their absence is barely noticed by the general public. This discussion will examine why this happens and how these vanished books affect our freedom to read.

The event will be moderated by Mark Medley, the National Post’s books editor and the current chair of PEN Canada’s Membership committee.


Stephen Henighan

Stephen Henighan is the author of six books of fiction and four books of nonfiction. He is a columnist for Geist, a contributor to the Times Literary Supplement and General Editor of the Biblioasis International Translation Series.

Jesse Hirsh
Jesse Hirsh

Jesse Hirsh is an internet strategist, researcher, and broadcaster based in Toronto, Canada. He has a weekly nationally syndicated column on CBC radio explaining and analyzing the latest trends and developments in technology using language and examples that are meaningful and relevant to everyday life.

Hal Niedzviecki
Hal Niedzviecki

Hal Niedzviecki is a writer of fiction and nonfiction about the intersection of mass culture and individuality. He is also founder and publisher of Broken Pencil: The Magazine of Zine Culture and the Independent Arts. His web home is

Mark Medley

Mark Medley is the National Post’s books editor and co-editor of the paper’s books blog, The Afterword. His fiction and non-fiction have appeared in publications across North America, including The Globe and Mail, The Walrus, This Magazine, Descant, Eye Weekly, Torontoist, Spacing, Taddle Creek and The Mississippi Review.

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