True-Life Story about Government Censorship and Dirty Oil wins Gold

Canadian’s non-fiction graphic book about dirty oil and Canada’s censorship wins Gold IPPY Award in New York

Franke James accepts Gold Book Award in New York City on May 28 2014

Franke James accepts Gold IPPY Award in New York City May 28 2014 Franke James accepts Gold IPPY Award in New York City May 28 2014 CE2_BannedontheHillcoverFranke James accepts Gold IPPY Award in New York City May 28 2014 Teresa_Franke_4611small


May 31, 2014 -– New York, NY, United States

Banned on the Hill: A True Story about Dirty Oil and Government Censorship is the winner of a 2014 Independent Publisher Book Award.

Franke James’ true-life story of fighting back against the heavy-handed censorship of the Canadian Government was awarded the Gold Medal in the Canada-East Best Regional Non-Fiction category at the IPPY Awards Ceremony in New York City on May 28, 2014.

Author and Artist Franke James commented, “This Gold IPPY Award for Banned on the Hill is a sweet victory for me, for democracy, and for environmental voices everywhere. And it’s a blow against those high up in the Canadian government who are trying to silence and suppress environmental voices. It’s proof that censorship does not work — especially if you can wield a paint brush and leverage social media to gain supporters from around the world.

“I want to give a huge shout out to all the Indiegogo and Loudsauce supporters who joined my activist campaign and helped put my ‘banned art’ up on the streets of Ottawa (twice!), Halifax, Calgary and even Washington, DC! Together we are making a difference. We are shining a bright light on the censorship tactics of Orwellian Ottawa.”


ABOUT The IPPY Awards: Honouring Publishers who “take chances and break new ground”

“Independent Publishers Tell Real Stories about Real People and Places”

(May 7, 2014 – Traverse City, MI) – After a long, cold winter, the announcement of the 18th annual Independent Publisher Book Awards has brought a spring-like gust of excellence to the publishing world.
Launched in 1996 and conducted each year to honor the year’s best independently published books, the “IPPY” Awards recognize merit in a broad range of subjects and reward authors and publishers who “take chances and break new ground.” Independent publishers, along with independent booksellers, have long held an important role in the world of books, offering an alternative to “the big five” conglomerated media publishers. Thanks to small presses, university presses, and self-publishing services that give experimental and entrepreneurial authors a platform, the IPPY universe is rapidly expanding — and that gives adventurous readers an abundance of new choices.
The medal-winning books will be celebrated on May 28th during the annual BookExpo America publishing convention in New York, with gold, silver and bronze IPPY medallions awarded in 78 national, 22 regional, and ten e-book categories. This year’s contest drew over 5,500 entries from authors and publishers in all 50 U.S. states, nine Canadian provinces, and 32 countries overseas.

ABOUT THE BOOK: ‘Banned on the Hill’ by Franke James

CE2_BannedontheHillcover What would you do if you discovered you were blacklisted by your own government for speaking up on climate change and the tar sands? In Banned on the Hill, artist and author Franke James, tells how she first discovered she was being censored by the Canadian government — and how she fought back. It’s an inspiring story that shows how creativity, crowd-funding and investigative digging can work together to shine a bright light on a government that is more interested in message control than a citizen’s democratic right to free expression. Through eight visual essays, James traces her personal journey as an active citizen discovering the power of speaking out. Interviewed in the Guardian UK newspaper James said that she hoped the book would serve as a how-to guide to other activists hoping to take on the Harper administration, especially with humour.

Through entertaining, powerful and humorous real-life storytelling, James show us how to speak the hard truths — and get heard. She shows us why actions speak louder than words and how each of us can make a difference in our front yards, our city, our country and our world.

MEDIA: Banned on the Hill debuted with an article in The Guardian UK by Suzanne Goldenberg…

“Artist finds inspiration in Canadian government’s attempt to silence her”. Suzanne Goldenberg wrote, “Visual essays by Franke James reveal how the ‘troublesome artist’ was targeted because her views on climate change clashed with the push to develop Alberta’s tar sands… But there is apparently one woman whom the government can’t shut up: the Toronto environmental writer, illustrator and activist Franke James, who turned the efforts to silence her into material for a new book. Banned on the Hill: A True Story about Dirty Oil and Government Censorship, released this week, shows how Canadian bureaucrats tried to silence James because her views on climate change clashed with the Harper government’s push to develop Alberta’s tar sands. The story is told through visual essays as well as official emails obtained by James, in which government bureaucrats discuss the troublesome artist and her work.”

Read more media coverage…

Crowd-Funding Campaign Put Franke James’ Posters On the Streets of Ottawa, Halifax, Calgary and Washington, DC


The ‘Banned on the Hill’ Indiegogo campaign exceeded its fundraising goal by 257%, raising $12,869 USD. The funds were used to put Franke James’ “Do Not Talk About Climate Change” posters on the streets of Ottawa, Halifax and Calgary. The remaining funds contributed towards Franke’s Oh No Canada! show in Washington, DC.

James ominous art work “Do Not Talk about Climate Change. It is against government policy” was inspired by the Canadian government and James’ personal experience of being censored. The artwork shows the Canadian Parliament Buildings dropped into tar sands and features a telling quote from an internal government email:

“The artist’s work dealt mostly with climate change, and was advocating a message that was contrary to the government’s policies on the subject.” Jean-Bruno Villeneuve, Spokesperson, Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada



Blacklisting Backgrounder

James’ 20-city European art show was cancelled as a direct result of behind-the-scenes government interference by high-level bureaucrats, including the Deputy Director of Climate Change, Jeremy Wallace, a Canadian Ambassador, Scott Heatherington, and a Senior Trade Commissioner in Berlin, Thomas Marr. According to the internal government documents, James was censored because her art was “advocating a message that was contrary to the government’s policies on climate change.”

The artist has vigorously and creatively fought back against the government’s interference and censorship calling it an infringement on her right to free expression. James used freedom of information laws to obtain 2,172 internal government documents concerning herself. In Banned on the Hill, the chapter, “Games Bureaucats Play” gives practical tips and insights for activists interested in applying for access to information.” Read more…

For more information:
Banned on the Hill: A True Story about Dirty Oil and Government Censorship
Published by The James Gang.

Buy Banned on the Hill at

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