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Virtual Event: Banned Books, Fahrenheit 451, and the Division Censorship Creates

September 19, 2022 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm EDT

Join PEN Across America, Mount Vernon Public Library, and Banned Book Week Chairs Alyssa Gómez Lawrence and Debbie Nabubwaya Chambers on Monday, September 19 at 7:00 PM for an online discussion of Ray Bradbury’s classic novel, Fahrenheit 451 and the issues the book raises around censorship and free expression.

About Fahrenheit 451:

Guy Montag is a fireman. His job is to destroy the most illegal of commodities, the printed book, along with the houses in which they are hidden. Montag never questions the destruction and ruin his actions produce, returning each day to his bland life and wife, Mildred, who spends all day with her television “family.” But when he meets an eccentric young neighbor, Clarisse, who introduces him to a past where people didn’t live in fear and to a present where one sees the world through the ideas in books instead of the mindless chatter of television, Montag begins to question everything he has ever known.

This discussion will examine the history of banned books, our current censorious moment, and the path toward a free and enlightened culture.


Deborah Nabubwaya Chambers is a children’s books writer, a global health researcher, and a health administration promoter. She actively volunteers on the engagement and mentoring committees at APHA Health Administration Section. Ms. Chambers earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology degree from Daystar University in Kenya, a Master of Public Health, and a Master of Healthcare Administration from National University in San Diego, CA. Ms. Chambers is pursuing a Doctorate in Health Administration at Northcentral University in San Diego, CA. She is interested in advocacy issues in PEN America, particularly in joining and championing causes that enhance a literary culture by building cultural bridges that merge diversity, equity, and inclusion with free expression.

Alyssa Gómez Lawrence was born and raised in Knox County and graduated from Kenyon College as an English major. She lived in North Carolina and Columbus before returning to Knox County to take the opportunity to grow Kenyon’s Office for Community Partnerships in January 2016. Her work focuses on the curricula with community-engaged learning courses and research — course work designed to address community needs and access community knowledge while providing opportunities for real-world, hands-on experiences — and she assists in fostering new and existing partnerships between Kenyon and the surrounding community. Alyssa’s experience with a variety of community stakeholders and committee settings, combined with her lifelong passion for literature, gives her a unique perspective on civil discourse and literary advocacy. In her work for Kenyon College and as a PEN Across America advocate, Alyssa is excited to further support and promote opportunities for community members to engage in debate, participate in advocacy initiatives, and learn together through literary-themed workshops and conversations.