Lawrence Hill Wins Freedom to Read Award


Toronto – The Writers’ Union of Canada has just announced that the recipient of its 2012 Freedom to Read Award is the Canadian author Lawrence Hill.

“We are delighted that Lawrence Hill will be this year’s recipient,” said Greg Hollingshead, Chair of the Union. “We felt that he deserved this honour on the basis of his reasoned and eloquent response to the threat to burn his novel The Book of Negroes.”

The title The Book of Negroes is drawn from that of a 1783 historical document, which lists the names of Black Loyalists who, having fought for the British during the American Revolutionary War, were to be transported to Nova Scotia. Roy Groenburg of The Netherlands, finding the use of the word “Negro” in the title of Mr. Hill’s novel offensive, burned the cover and publicly threatened to burn the book.

In response, Mr. Hill offered to speak to Mr. Groenburg.  He also wrote an op-ed piece in The Toronto Star, which said, in part, “Burning books is designed to intimidate people. It underestimates the intelligence of readers, stifles dialogue and insults those who cherish the freedom to read and write. The leaders of the Spanish Inquisition burned books, Nazis burned books.”

To this, Hollingshead adds, “It is important that during Freedom to Read Week we recognize individuals such as Lawrence Hill who speak out against challenges to this freedom.”

The recipient of the Union’s 2011 Freedom to Read Award was John Ralston Saul, who in 2009 was elected to the presidency of International PEN for a three-year term. The 2011 award will be presented on the evening of February 28 at the Book and Periodical Council’s Freedom to Read event at the Gladstone Hotel at 1214 Queen Street West in Toronto.


The Writers’ Union of Canada is our country’s national organization representing professional authors of books.  Founded in 1973, the Union is dedicated to fostering writing in Canada, and promoting the rights, freedoms, and economic well-being of all writers.

TWUC’s 16th Annual Writing for Children Competition


16th Annual Writing for Children Competition

$1,500 PRIZE

The Writers’ Union of Canada is pleased to announce that submissions are being accepted until April 24, 2012 for the 16th annual Writing for Children Competition. The winning entry will be the best Canadian work of up to 1,500 words in the English language, fiction or non-fiction, written by an unpublished author.


$1,500 for the winning entry, and the entries of the winner and finalists will be submitted to three Canadian children’s publishers.


Writers Don Calame, Hazel Hutchins, and Rene Schmidt will serve as the jury.


This competition is open to all Canadian citizens and permanent residents who have not been published in book format in any genre and who do not currently have a contract with a book publisher. Original and unpublished (English language) fiction or non-fiction is eligible.


·         Entries should be typed, double-spaced, in a clear twelve-point font, and the pages numbered on 8.5 x 11 paper, not stapled. Do not send entries that only have a few sentences per page.

·         Illustrations are not accepted.

·         Submissions will be accepted by hardcopy only.

·         Include a separate cover letter with title of story, full name, address, phone number, email address, word count, and number of pages of entry.

·         Please type the name of the entrant and the title of the entry on each numbered page. This is not a blind competition.

·         Make your cheque or money order payable to The Writers’ Union of Canada. Multiple entries can be submitted together and fees can be added and paid with one cheque or money order, $15 per submission.

·         Entries must be postmarked by April 24, 2012 to be eligible.

·         Mail entries to: WFC Competition, The Writers’ Union of Canada, 90 Richmond Street East, Suite 200, Toronto, ON M5C 1P1.

Results will be posted at in July 2012. Manuscripts will not be returned.