PEN Canada calls for nominations for the 2022 Ken Filkow Prize

Ken Filkow Prize

Calling all champions of freedom of expression in Canada

The PEN Canada Ken Filkow Prize has been generously doubled by its funders this year to $2,000. It is awarded to an individual or group who has advanced freedom of expression in Canada. 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.

The prize is named in memory of Kenneth A. Filkow, Q.C., a distinguished Winnipeg lawyer, former chair of the Manitoba Human Rights Commission, and a former member of PEN Canada’s Canadian Issues Committee. The prize is funded by Cynthia Wine and Philip Slayton.


PAST WINNERS: Franke James, Raihan Abir, Desmond Cole, Justin Brake, Tim Bousquet, Amy Lai


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 (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 will be open to the public until midnight on Friday, May 20, 2022. All are invited to suggest a name or names of a person or organization that fit the award criteria.

Please provide a brief biography of the nominee (or a link to one online) and a description of what the nominee has done on behalf of freedom of expression in Canada that deserves recognition. Nominations must include specific examples of actions that have advanced freedom of expression in Canada with supporting details and links. 

The award will be presented at PEN’s Annual General Meeting on Thursday June 16, 2022. The AGM begins at 5:30 pm.