PEN Canada/Ken Filkow 2021 Prize open for nominations

Nominations for the 2021 PEN Canada/Ken Filkow Prize are now open. The $1,000 annual prize is awarded to an individual or group that has advanced freedom of expression in Canada.

Previous winners of the prize include Raihan Abir and Desmond Cole. You can see a tribute to the most recent award winner, Tim Bousquet, here.

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. This prize is funded by Cynthia Wine and Philip Slayton.


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 financial or other interests or that of their members’.

The nomination deadline is Friday, April 16, 2021.