Photo credit: Ashford Hamilton
Article was last updated Tuesday, September 19, 2023.
TORONTO, September 18, 2023 – Brandi Morin, an award-winning Cree/Iroquois/French journalist and best-selling author, has won the PEN Canada 2023 Ken Filkow Prize for advancing freedom of expression in Canada.
Hailing from Treaty 6 territory in Alberta, Morin’s reporting amplifies Indigenous stories. For over a decade, she has reported on Indigenous land and environmental rights, Truth and Reconciliation, and residential school grave discoveries. Her work is also informed by her experience as a survivor of the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) crisis — an experience she uses to tell stories of those who did not survive the rampant violence.
Her freedom of expression was challenged as late as August 2023, when she was grabbed and threatened by a police officer in the course of reporting with Ricochet Media — with whom Morin has collaborated for three years — on an environmental blockade at Fairy Creek. In 2021, Brandi was also reportedly the subject of RCMP surveillance along with other journalists, and has faced threats and abuse in the pursuit of her work.
Yet, she persists, committed to reporting with courage and transparency — despite risks to her own safety — for the benefit of all Canadians and Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women.
The Ken Filkow Prize was established in 2015. The prize, funded by Cynthia Wine and Philip Slayton, is named in memory of Kenneth A. Filkow, Q.C., a distinguished Winnipeg lawyer, former chair of the Manitoba Human Rights Commission, and former member of PEN Canada’s Canadian Issues Committee. Previous winners include photojournalist Amber Bracken, legal scholar Amy Lai, and journalist and publisher Tim Bousquet. Winners are selected by a jury following a public call for nominations each summer.
PEN Canada is a nonpartisan organization that celebrates literature, defends freedom of expression, and assists writers in peril at home and abroad. The English-language Canadian centre was founded in 1983 and is proud to be one of over 100 chapters of PEN International.
Eilish Waller, Communications Coordinator
PEN Canada, ewaller[at]pencanada.ca