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B.C. author wins first PEN award

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 13/6/2015 (799 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

The B.C.-based author of a book about the federal government cutting her funding for a European art tour on climate change won the inaugural PEN Canada/Kenneth Filkow Prize for promoting free information and exchange of ideas.

Franke James's book Banned on the Hill describes how, through freedom of information requests, she discovered the funding was cancelled because her message on climate change was "contrary to the government's policies on the subject."

The prize is named for the late Kenneth Filkow, a former chairman of the Manitoba Human Rights Commission. PEN is an international organization devoted to freedom of expression.


Several prominent Canadian authors including Margaret Atwood, Yann Martel and Rohinton Mistry have joined an international campaign condemning the murder of three bloggers in Bangladesh this year.

The three bloggers, Ananta Bijoy Das, Washiqur Rahman and Avjit Roy, as well as others, were targeted by Islamic extremists in separate attacks in the impoverished nation. The Canadians are among 150 writers who signed a letter to Bangladesh's Prime Minister Hasina Wajed sent by PEN.


The world's richest poetry prize, Canada's Griffin Prize, went to Vancouver resident Jane Munro this month for her collection Blue Sonoma.

Munro, who also studies yoga in India, draws on eastern and western poetic traditions to muse on her partner's struggle with Alzheimer's.

The International Griffin Prize was awarded to Irish poet Michael Longley. Each of the winners receives $65,000, while the other shortlisted poets receive $10,000.


Manitoba writers will seek inspiration from the province's great lakes this summer and fall thanks to donors who have made houses on Lake Winnipeg and Lake Manitoba available as writing retreats for members of the Manitoba Writers Guild.

The Winnipeg Beach Writing Retreat will offer a place for one to three writers Sept. 13-20 to stay rent-free, thanks to an anonymous donor. The Arksey House Writers' Retreat will run August to Thanksgiving in the home of a Guild member located near Langruth on the west side of Lake Manitoba.

For more information call the Guild at 204-944-8013. Applications are due Monday.


The first winners of the newest Manitoba Book Awards share their work and discuss writing Monday at Artspace's Burns Family Classroom.

Rick Chafe, winner of the Chris Johnson Award for the Best Play by a Manitoba Playwright (for The Secret Mask), and Deborah Delaronde, winner of the Beatrice Mosionier Aboriginal Writer of the Year Award, will speak at the final event of the season in the Manitoba Writers' Guild In Dialogue series. Admission is $10 or $2 for students and the event starts at 7 p.m.


After 30 years of The Nature of Things and 40 books, David Suzuki has learned a few things. He passes on some of his insights on environmentalism, feminism, family and society in his new book Letters to My Grandchildren (see review on page D24). He stops at the West End Cultural Centre June 20 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets, unfortunately, are now sold out.


Three Italian-Canadian writers will read at an Italian Heritage Month event June 18 at the Caboto Centre on Wilkes Avenue.

Carmelo Militano, author of the poetry collection Ariadne's Thread and the novel Sebastiano's Vine; Carmine Coppola, author of the poetry collections Poems for Julia and The Many Faces of Time; and Dennis Maione, publisher and author of What I Learned From Cancer, are featured at the event, starting at 7:30 p.m.


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Updated on Saturday, June 13, 2015 at 8:14 AM CDT: Formatting, adds book jacket, updates status of David Suzuki event.

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