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


As we celebrate Universal Children’s Day and the 32nd anniversary of the signing of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child we are mindful of the millions of children around the world who are killed and displaced by the economic and political forces that deny them a say in their own futures. We are mindful that in Canada I in 5 children live in poverty. 


It is true that children and youth are more visible now thanks to social media and the heroic efforts of young climate activists who are holding our feet to the fire of climate and social justice. But more needs to be done. Urgently. Now.


At the Republic of Childhood children and youth and those who amplify their voices and create space for them come first.


Through writing workshops, podcasts, on line videos, book reviews, author interviews, thought pieces and creative writing, we encourage children and youth to take the lead and claim their places in the conversations and initiatives that affect their lives. 


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



I wish high school students came up with all of the questions for the interviews, panels & events we have participated in! I was blown away by both Grade 9 classes intellect reflected in their nuanced & thought provoking questions. Our classroom visit gave me a lot of hope for the future & reminded me of exactly why it's important to tell our stories & share our art & writing with the world.(Their response to Curtis Perry’s two grade nine classes at Woodroffe High School)

— Gem Hall Illustrator and collaborator with Rae Spoon's for 'Green Glass Ghosts'

Thanks to Our Sponsors

Carleton University Ottawa Community Foundation Telus Friendly Future Foundation