Main content

The 2019 Griffin Poetry Prize Anthology in Braille and EPUB

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

The National Network for Equitable Library Service (NNELS) is pleased to announce that the 2019 Griffin Poetry Prize Anthology is fully accessible to all readers on the release date of June 4, 2019. NNELS approached publisher, House of Anansi Press, to coordinate the simultaneous release of the poetry anthology in both braille and print formats, and was delighted with the publisher’s enthusiastic support.

Braille is a printing and writing system of raised dots that is used by many blind individuals. House of Anansi Press provided NNELS with an advanced copy of the poetry anthology and NNELS contracted Point-par-Point Inc. to transcribe the copy into embossed and electronic braille (BRF).

“I applaud NNELS for converting the 2019 Griffin Poetry Prize Anthology into braille - poetry is the essence of language and should be available to all.”

Scott Griffin, Chairman, The Griffin Trust

Less than ten percent of published materials are available in a format that is accessible to people with print disabilities, and the availability of poetry in accessible formats is even lower.

"Being able to read poetry in braille is the only way for a blind person to truly tap into the poet's thoughts without any added biases. Unless the poet is reading his or her own work, the audio copy will not be true to the original. I am pleased that, this year, the Griffin Poetry Prize Anthology is being made available in alternate formats, including braille, at the same time as it is released in print.”

Marcia Yale, Huntsville, Ontario

Converting reading materials to accessible formats after production can be time consuming and costly, particularly in braille. NNELS envisions an accessible publishing future where reading materials are created at the outset in a way that readers with print disabilities can read them, and is working with partners and publishers to advance this work.

The 2019 Griffin Poetry Prize Anthology will be available to borrow in EPUB, BRF, and embossed braille through NNELS and through public libraries across Canada.  Print copies and embossed braille copies can be purchased directly from House of Anansi Press’ website at

“NNELS is grateful for the support it received from The Griffin Trust and House of Anansi Press to ensure the 2019 Griffin Poetry Prize Anthology is available in formats accessible to all readers on the same day. NNELS is excited to be developing partnerships for accessible publishing that will provide readers with print disabilities full access to reading materials.”

Kevin Millsip, Managing Director, BC Libraries Cooperative, the service provider for NNELS.

The exciting project was made possible with support from the Government of Canada's Social Development Partnerships Program - Disability Component.

For more detailed information on NNELS’ projects, visit the NNELS Grants Updates page.

NNELS gratefully acknowledges the support of its funders from eight provinces and territories (Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Northwest Territories, Nova Scotia, Nunavut, Saskatchewan, and Yukon), the Government of Canada, libraries and readers, volunteers, and partner organisations including the AEBC (Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians), CCB (Canadian Council of the Blind), CFB (Canadian Federation of the Blind), and VIRN (Vision Impaired Resource Network).