Friday, February 24, 2012

Freedom to Read Week

Freedom to Read Week 2012

According to the Freedom to Read website: Freedom to Read Week is an annual event that encourages Canadians to think about and reaffirm their commitment to intellectual freedom, which is guaranteed them under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Freedom to Read Week is organized by the Freedom of Expression Committee of the Book and Periodical Council.

Freedom to Read Week is February 26 - March 3, 2012.

Each year a Canadian author is awarded the Writers' Union of Canada's 2012 Freedom to Read Award. This year's recipient is Lawrence Hill who was honoured because of "his reasoned and eloquent response to the threat to burn his novel The Book of Negroes," according to Greg Hollingshead, chair of the Writers Union.

The full story was covered in a past entry about Lawrence Hill. A Dutch group called Foundation Honor and Restore Victims of Slavery in Suriname had planned to burn Hill's book to protest the use of the word "negro" in the title. Ironically, the Book of Negroes' title comes from an actual historical document which recorded the names of 3,000 African slaves who were moved from New York to Nova Scotia, then to Africa.

It is not the first time the title has stirred controversy. The Book of Negroes was called Someone Knows My Name in the US and Australia, while in Quebec, it was given the name of the main character and titled Aminata.

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