Ottawa's Festival of Ideas Since 1997

The Republic of Childhood connects authors, children, youth, research and creativity culminating in an annual Forum Celebrating the Future.

“When a child walks in the room, your child or anybody else’s child, do your eyes light up? That’s what they’re looking for.”
—Toni Morrison

Universal Children's Day

November 20 is Universal Children’s Day and the 30th anniversary of the United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child. To celebrate we are launching our fourth Republic of Childhood season with an exciting program of interviews of writers by students, conversations with young activists and innovative educators weighing in on amplifying the voices and concerns of children and youth.  
In 2020 Kenneth Oppel, Deborah Ellis, Tim Wynne-Jones, Alan Cumyn and student activist Alexis Benns were just a few among many who inspired, and challenged us to become more engaged in building back better. Click here to access our 2020 Republic of Childhood Virtual Season. 
In spring 2021 we have three authors Kevin Sands, Rukhsana Kahn, and Natasha Deen making virtual classroom visits to discuss their work and answer questions from students.  We will also continue to have children and youth interview student climate activists for podcasts and live zoom sessions.
It is our hope that we will return to a live public format for our Republic of Childhood Forum in November at the Carleton-Dominion Chalmers Art Centre. The Forum will showcase the writing of students who complete the five-week writing workshops with local authors.
The Forum will also include podcasts with internationally acclaimed educators touching on topics of interest to parents, teachers and of course children and youth.

In the Media



Any fool can get into trouble for doing the wrong thing. It’s something else to get into trouble for doing the right thing. 

— Cindy Blackstock, Executive Director, First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada



I’m very proud of my youth, their words really resounded last night at the Republic of Childhood Youth Forum. Their words are fire!

— Apollo the Child, Resident spoken word poet, Republic of Childhood, 2019



Thanks to you for welcoming us into the school. It’s been an honour and a pleasure to be part of the Republic of Childhood again.

— Kagiso Lesogo Molope, Writer-in-Residence, Republic of Childhood, 2019



My sincere thanks to Kagiso and the Republic of Childhood for having ten students from Woodroffe HS read their work this afternoon! What a wonderful experience for them—and me. This is student voice and learning beyond the curriculum in action.

– Curtis Perry, Teacher, Woodroffe HS



I chose to love but love doesn’t choose me.

— Leif Harris, Spoken word poet



Meegwetch for creating space and opportunity to hear the next generations.

— Keri Cheechoo, Cree poet, Writer-in Residence, Kitigan Zibi Kikinamadinan, Republic of Childhood, 2019



A blessed day at the Republic of Childhood Youth Forum bubbling with children’s voices and whispers, outcries and powerful silences. Listening to someone with all your mind and soul is a greater amplifier than any loudspeaker or megaphone.

— Cornelia Remi, educator and Guest Presenter from Munich



Youth want to be heard, but their voices are missing from research and policies about them.

— Kathleen Gallagher, educator and Guest Presenter from Toronto



This collection of work is the product of a group of peers, brought together by fate, and because of our unique, yet eerily similar, experiences of homelessness, housing instability and extreme poverty…This chapbook marks the very first time that we’ve used creative writing as a tool to share our knowledge. Our short but meaningful journey with the Ottawa Writers Festival has been so brilliant, that it certainly won’t be the last.

— Charlotte E. Smith, Carleton University student from her introduction to The Door, a collection of stories written during a five week writing workshop at the Carleton Dominion-Chalmers Centre 



I had the immense privilege of watching seven young people grow over the course of five short days and the results were wonderful. Each of them during the week became incrementally better role players and writers. I don’t doubt many will go on to write stories and run games of their own.

— Aidan Wilson, 14, Co-Founder of the Republic of Childhood, RPG summer writing camp, Vanier Public Library

Thanks to Our Sponsors

Carleton University OCDSB RBC Wealth Management Ottawa Community Foundation Telus Friendly Future Foundation