2016 Call for Nominations: PEN Canada/Ken Filkow Prize

Ken Filkow Prize

Call for Nominations: PEN Canada/Ken Filkow Prize

PEN Canada calls for nominations for the PEN Canada/Ken Filkow Prize, which recognizes champions of freedom of expression in Canada. The particular focus of the PEN Canada/Ken Filkow prize is freeing “information and ideas” from restraint or interference.

The prize, named in memory of Kenneth A. Filkow, Q.C., a distinguished Winnipeg lawyer, former chair of the Manitoba Human Rights Commission, and an active member of PEN Canada’s Canadian Issues Committee, is given annually to an individual or institution in Canada who has demonstrated courage and integrity in the interest of freedom of expression. The prize is worth $1,000.

Article 19 of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on December 10, 1948, states:

“Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression. This right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”

The PEN Canada/Ken Filkow Prize will be awarded to an individual or group in Canada whose work has advanced freedom of speech in Canada or more broadly.


Eligible nominees are authors, journalists, public servants, scientists, professors, business people, editors, publishers, organizations and concerned citizens whose work meets the goals set out above.  In the case of individuals, special consideration will be given to those whose actions have demonstrated personal courage that may have involved putting personal interests (career advancement, reputation, ties of family or friendship, etc.) on the line. In the case of organizations, special consideration will be given to those who have acted in a way that could have been damaging to their or their members’ financial or other interests.

Nomination Guidelines

Nominations for this year’s award are invited from the public until July 15, 2016. All are invited to suggest a name or names of a person or organization that fit the award criteria.

Nominators should provide a short description of the candidate’s contribution, with specific details that can be verified by PEN Canada. They should also provide contact information for the candidate.

The winner will be chosen by PEN Canada’s Canadian Issues Committee, and the award will be presented at PEN’s awards night at the International Festival of Authors, Thursday, October 20, 2016.