PEN Canada Looking for Champions of Free Expression

Ken Filkow Prize

Nominations sought for the PEN Canada/Ken Filkow Prize

Nominations for the 2020 PEN Canada/Ken Filkow prize are now open. The $1,000 annual prize is awarded to an individual or group who has advanced freedom of expression in Canada.

About the Prize
Named in memory of Kenneth A. Filkow, Q.C., a distinguished Winnipeg lawyer, former chair of the Manitoba Human Rights Commission, and active member of PEN Canada’s Canadian Issues Committee, the prize celebrates champions of freedom of expression. The right to freedom of opinion and expression is protected under Article 19 of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and enshrined as a fundamental freedom in section 2(b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Funded by Cynthia Wine and Philip Slayton, the prize is juried by current members of the Canadian Issues Committee.

The 2020 jurors are Vincent Wong,  William C. Graham Research Associate at the International Human Rights Program in the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Law; Jamie Cameron, Professor of Constitutional Law, Osgoode Hall Law School and Cara Zwibel, Director of the Fundamental Freedoms Program, Canadian Civil Liberties Association

Nominees may be anyone ­– authors, journalists, public servants, scientists, professors, business people, editors, publishers, organizations and concerned citizens – whose work has advanced freedom of expression in Canada. 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 on the line (career advancement, reputation, ties of family or friendship, etc.). In the case of organizations, special consideration will be given to those who have acted in a way that protected freedom of expression despite potential damage to their or their members’ financial or other interests.

Nomination Guidelines
Nominators should provide a description of the candidate’s contribution, with specific examples and supporting documentation, and contact information for the candidate. Nominations can be made here.

The nomination deadline is May 15 2020.

For more information about the PEN Canada/Ken Filkow Award, contact our office at