Tag: censorship

TENNESSEE: Banned Together

The Dramatists Legal Defense Fund, in partnership with PEN America, is proud to present the Tennessee production of “Banned Together.”

Banned Together: A Censorship Cabaret is a celebration of songs and scenes from shows that have been censored or challenged on America’s stages, created to raise awareness around issues of censorship and free expression in the theatre.

The Nashville regional production will feature selections from Cabaret, Chicago, and Angels in America, among other notable works, with a libretto by DLDF president John Weidman (Assassins) and J.T. Rogers (Oslo, Blood and Gifts). This performance will be produced by Actors Bridge Ensemble, performed by Lipscomb theatre students, and directed by Abby Charles.

There is no charge for admission, and anyone may attend. Reservations are encouraged, as we have limited capacity and this helps us anticipate audience size and plan accordingly. However, we may be able to accommodate those without an Eventbrite reservation on a first come, first served basis, pending remaining capacity and availability on the day.

The Dramatists Legal Defense Fund is a non-profit organization created by the Dramatists Guild to advocate for free expression in the dramatic arts, and a vibrant public domain for all, and to educate the public about the industry standards surrounding theatrical production and about the protections afforded dramatists under copyright law. www.dldf.org. @TheDLDF

PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect free expression in the United States and worldwide. We champion the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Our mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible. www.pen.org @PENamerican

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Banned Books Week Celebration at AFK Books & Records

Every year, we’re excited to join book lovers from across Virginia to celebrate the freedom to read and call attention to the wealth of creativity that is stifled when books are forbidden from library shelves.

This year’s Banned Books Week is from Sept. 22 – Sept. 28, but the fight for intellectual freedom takes place every day in every county in Virginia. That’s why we’re joining hands with independent bookstores across the Commonwealth to celebrate Banned Books Week and shine a spotlight on this important issue. Join us at AFK Books & Records on Sunday, Sept. 29, 1:00 p.m. to reflect on the freedom to read and take a stand against the government’s attempt to stifle speech and control what we should read, think, and value.

We will be there to talk about government censorship, what it looks like in public schools and public libraries, and what you can do about it. Additionally, we will discuss efforts to ban books in prisons and jails in Virginia and how you can help expand access to books behind bars.

Come have a chat with us and take home some swag!

Banned Books Week Celebration at One More Page Books

Every year, we’re excited to join book lovers from across Virginia to celebrate the freedom to read and call attention to the wealth of creativity that is stifled when books are forbidden from library shelves.

This year’s Banned Books Week is from Sept. 22 – Sept. 28, but the fight for intellectual freedom takes place every day in every county in Virgina. To keep up the spirit of Banned Books Week, join us at One More Page Books on Saturday, Sept. 28 to reflect on the freedom to read and take a stand against the government’s attempt to stifle speech and control what we should read, think, and value.

Our attorney Nicole Tortoriello will be there to talk about government censorship, what it looks like in public schools and public libraries, and what you can do about it. Additionally, we will discuss efforts to ban books in prisons and jails in Virginia and how you can help expand access to books behind bars.

Come have a chat with us and take home some swag!

Forbidden Tales: Censorship and Society

Image credit: Through Fire (Books that Survived the Anti-Japanese War of Resistance at Tsinghua University No.2), 2017. Oil on canvas. H. 48 x W. 74 in. (122 x 188 cm). Courtesy of the artist and Chambers Fine Art. Photograph courtesy of the artist.

 

Xiaoze Xie will discuss his research into the history of censorship in China that inspired the current exhibition Xiaoze Xie: Objects of Evidence. The artist will be joined by noted experts on the subject of censorship Martin Heijdra, Princeton University, and James Tager, PEN America in a panel led by Michelle Yun, Asia Society Museum Senior Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art.

The program is organized in conjunction with Banned Books Week, September 22-28, 2019.

The program is free and registration is required. Register here.

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San Diego Writers, Ink Presents a Very Special Banned Books Reading

San Diego Writers, Ink Presents a Very Special Banned Books Reading

Date: Thursday, September 26, 2019

Time: 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM

Location: Lestat’s West – 3343 Adams Avenue, San Diego, CA 92116

Join us as we celebrate the freedom to read. In honor of the American Library Association’s Banned Books Week, San Diego Writers, Ink is planning a very special Banned Books Reading on September 26, 2019, at Lestat’s West at 3343 Adams Avenue in San Diego’s Normal Heights neighborhood. The event will be held from 6:30-8:30 p.m., and the cost is only $5.00.

This year’s event will feature Veronica Murphy and Walter Ritter, founders of the fabulous Write Out Loud. Write Out Loud was founded in 2007 with a commitment to inspire, challenge, and entertain by reading short stories aloud for a live audience. There will be readings from a curated selection of books that have been challenged and/or banned over the years. A highlight of the evening will be a lively tribute to A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo, written by Jill Twiss and illustrated by EG Keller. Introduced by John Oliver on his show Last Week Tonight with John Oliver—published last year in response to the release of Marlon Bundo’s A Day in the Life of the Vice President, written by Second Daughter Charlotte Pence and illustrated by Second Lady Karen Pence—the children’s book was the second most challenged book of 2018. The tribute will feature a special appearance by Marlon Bundo himself (well, okay, a man dressed in a custom-made bunny suit). At the end of the evening, the entire audience will participate in a ritual lighting ceremony as a reminder that we all have a responsibility to keep the light on so that everyone can enjoy the freedom to read.

Hosts for the evening will be Judy Reeves and Steve Montgomery. Judy Reeves (www.judyreeveswriter.com) is a writer, teacher, and writing practice provocateur whose books include A Writer’s Book of Days, named “Best Nonfiction” by the San Diego Book Awards; Writing Alone, Writing Together; A Creative Writer’s Kit; The Writer’s Retreat Kit, and most recently, Wild Women, Wild Voices. Co-founder of San Diego Writers, Ink, Judy has been leading community-based writing practice groups for more than twenty-five years, and teaches at writing conferences internationally. Steve Montgomery (www.stevenlmontgomery.com) is, with Judy Reeves, co-facilitator of Thursday Writers, a weekly drop-in writing practice group in San Diego. In his career as a public school teacher-librarian, Steve has been deeply involved in the American Library Association’s efforts to educate the public about nationwide efforts to ban or censor books in school and public libraries. Steve’s work has been published in several anthologies, including SDWI’s A Year in Ink.

San Diego Writers, Ink (SDWI) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit literary organization dedicated to nurturing writers and fostering San Diego’s literary community through classes, groups, workshops, readings, and other literary events throughout San Diego County. www.sandiegowriters.org

Banned Books Week Celebration at Hooray For Books!

Every year, we’re excited to join book lovers from across Virginia to celebrate the freedom to read and call attention to the wealth of creativity that is stifled when books are forbidden from library shelves.

This year’s Banned Books Week is from Sept. 22 – Sept. 28, but the fight for intellectual freedom takes place every day in every county in Virginia. That’s why we’re joining hands with independent bookstores across the Commonwealth to celebrate Banned Books Week and shine a spotlight on this important issue. Join us at Hooray For Books! on Thursday, Sept. 26, 6:30 p.m. to reflect on the freedom to read and take a stand against the government’s attempt to stifle speech and control what we should read, think, and value.

Our attorney Nicole Tortoriello will be there to talk about government censorship, what it looks like in public schools and public libraries, and what you can do about it. Additionally, we will discuss efforts to ban books in prisons and jails in Virginia and how you can help expand access to books behind bars.

Come have a chat with us and take home some swag!

Collin College’s 7th Annual Celebration of the Freedom to Read

Please join us for Collin College’s annual Banned Books Week celebration, a fun, interactive event with faculty and student readings of challenged, banned, and/or censored works and an exciting trivia competition with trophies and some fabulous prizes and trophies. This year there will also be a special dance performance by the Collin Dance Ensemble entitled, “Censorship is a Beast,” choreographed by Dance Professor Tiffanee Arnold!  Pizza will be served.  All are invited and welcome.  Free admission.

For more information, please contact Dr. Diana C. Gingo, Collin College’s Banned Books Week Committee Chair at dgingo@collin.edu.

Banned Books Live! 2019

During Banned Books Week, join us for an evening of forbidden knowledge in books censored in the US in 2018. Stage actors from Write Out Loud and more will perform live readings from selected books marked with the scarlet letter of censorship.  Join us for an entertaining evening of bacchanal revelry in the written word. Excerpts from the work of Toni Morrison will also be performed. Community readers are invited to read with us at the 8th Annual Banned Books Read-A-Thon earlier in the day.  And while you’re here, check out the historical banned books displays on the 1st and 2nd floors. Banned Books Week’s objective is to help raise awareness regarding the censorship of books in the US. More than 11,300 books have been challenged since 1982.

8th Annual Banned Books Week Read-Aloud Read-a-Thon

Commemorate Banned Books Week, and join San Diego Public Library staff and community readers for the library’s annual Read-Aloud Read-a-thon. A new book and a new reader every 15-30 minutes. All are also invited to Banned Books Live! 2019, an entertaining evening of stage readings from censored books by actors from Write Out Loud, starting at 6:30pm. And while you’re here check out the historical banned books displays on the 1st and 2nd floors of the library. Banned Books Week’s objective is to help awareness regarding the censorship of books in the US. More than 11,300 books have been challenged since 1982.

Banned Books Display

Display of different banned or censored books will be displayed in public library lobby in order to introduce readers to freedom to read.

A BANNED BOOK AT BEDTIME – MWM Equinox Colloquium – Library Events at The Museum of Witchcraft & Magic

A BANNED BOOK AT BEDTIMEFrom The Grimoire To The Bodice Ripper: Discover ancient magical texts subverted as evidence in early witch trials, unpublished transcriptions of conversations with angels, alchemic formulae, works of occult philosophy and novels so racy and depraved they were banned from sale on the Paris Metro: welcome to The Museum of Witchcraft & Magic’s Banned Books Week event for 2019. A full programme of events is on our website.

Attend in person: 21st & 22nd September 2019: at The Museum of Witchcraft & Magic, Boscastle, Cornwall, UK. The MWM presents its first ever autumn equinox conference: The MWM Equinox Colloquium, with talks, walks, plays, books! A Yale University Press book launch event for CURSED BRITAIN, by Dr Thomas Waters, plus a series of talks on Accusation & Persecution.

Listen for Free: Tune in nightly to A BANNED BOOK AT BEDTIME, nightly webcasts from our Library at 10PM UK time. 

  • The Axiom of Maria
  • The Sworn Book of Honorius
  • The Key of Solomon
  • Occult Philosophia – Heinrich Agrippa
  • John Dee – published and unpublished texts
  • Aleister Crowley: The Banned Lecture – A discussion
  • Là Bas – Huysman

10 Reasons Books Are Challenged and Banned

Books and plays are challenged for any number of reasons. Let’s take a look at ten of those reasons and the books on ALA’s Top Ten Challenged Books list for 2017 and previous years that were attacked for these reasons…

LGBTQ Content

In 2017, several books were challenged because of LGBTQ content. Drama, a bestselling young adult graphic novel by Raina Telgemeier was challenged for the inclusion of LGBTQ characters. Alex Gino’s award-winning middle grades book George and Jazz Jenning’s autobiographical picture book I Am Jazz were both attacked because of their transgender main characters. And Tango Makes Three, a children’s picture book based on the real-life story of two male penguins that raise a chick together, was challenged for featuring a same-sex relationship.

Other books challenged for LGBTQ content:

Sexually Explicit

In 2017, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie was challenged for being sexually explicit.

The following books have also been challenged or banned for being sexually explicit:

  • This One Summer
  • Drama
  • Two Boys Kissing
  • Looking for Alaska by John Green
  • Big Hard Sex Criminals by Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky
  • Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James
  • Habibi by Craig Thompson
  • The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
  • A Stolen Life by Jaycee Dugard
  • A Bad Boy Can Be Good for a Girl by Tanya Lee Stone
  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
  • Bless Me Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya

Profanity

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian and Angie Thomas’s The Hate U Give were among the titles attacked for profanity in 2017.

In previous years, the books challenged for profanity include:

  • This One Summer
  • Make Something Up: Stories You Can’t Unread by Chuck Palahniuk

Racism

Racism is among the various reasons that The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian has been challenged. The all-ages comic series Bone by Jeff Smith, a hero’s journey that centers on a trio of three Shmoo-like creatures, their human companions, a giant red dragon, and sundry fantasy characters, has also been challenged for racism.

Other titles accused of racism:

  • Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  • The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
  • Whale Talk by Chris Crutcher
  • Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers
  • I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
  • Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

Violence

Violence is a popular reason for challenging books. In 2017, The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini and To Kill a Mockingbird for challenged for violence.

Other titles attacked for violence:

  • Fun Home by Alison Bechdel
  • Nasreen’s Secret School: A True Story from Afghanistan, by Jeanette Winter
  • The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
  • Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey
  • The Bluest Eye
  • Bone
  • Scary Stories by Alvin Schwartz
  • Beloved by Toni Morrison
  • The Hunger Gamestrilogy by Suzanne Collins
  • Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

Religious Viewpoint

Religious viewpoint has been used to attack everything from The Holy Bible to I Am Jazz.

Other books challenged for religious viewpoint:

  • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
  • Nasreen’s Secret School: A True Story from Afghanistan
  • And Tango Makes Three
  • Fifty Shades of Grey
  • The Hunger Games
  • Bless Me Ultima
  • The Kite Runner
  • Beloved

Sex Education

Sex education is a touchy subject for many. Many schools regulate materials used for sex education, which means would-be censors might use that designation to try to restrict access to books that teach kids about their bodies. In 2017, Cory Silverberg and Fiona Smyth’s award-winning Sex Is a Funny Word was challenged for the very thing that it is intended to do: educate young readers about sex and gender. I Am Jazz has previously been attacked as being a sex education book in an attempt to limit access to it.

Other books attacked for educational content about sex and gender:

  • Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out
  • It’s Perfectly Normal by Robie Harris
  • My Mom’s Having A Baby! A Kid’s Month-by-Month Guide to Pregnancy by Dori Hillestad Butler
  • It’s So Amazing! A Book about Eggs, Sperm, Birth, Babies, and Families by Robie Harris

Suicide

In 2017, a popular Netflix series triggered attacks on Jay Asher’s Thirteen Reasons Why, a bestselling young adult book that explores teen suicide. The book was banned in multiple school districts around the country. The Perks of Being A Wallflower has also been challenged for the content related to suicide.

Drug and Alcohol Use

Another reason that The Hate U Give was attacked in 2017 was the depiction of drug use.

The depiction of drug and alcohol use was also cited in challenges to the following books:

  • This One Summer
  • The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower
  • A Stolen Life
  • A Bad Boy Can Be Good for a Girl
  • Looking for Alaska
  • Thirteen Reasons Why
  • Gossip Girl by Cecily Von Ziegesar
  • Internet Girls series by Lauren Myracle

Nudity

Unfortunately, some people equate nudity in books with obscenity, leading to challenges to the material. Comics and illustrated books are especially vulnerable to these challenges because they contain static images. Books that have been challenged for nudity include:

  • Habibi
  • It’s Perfectly Normal
  • Saga by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples
  • Fifty Shades of Grey
  • A Bad Boy Can Be Good for a Girl
  • The Color of Earth trilogy by Kim Dong Hwa
  • My Mom’s Having A Baby! A Kid’s Month-by-Month Guide to Pregnancy
  • Alice by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
  • Brave New World
  • What My Mother Doesn’t Know by Sonya Sones
  • Internet Girls
  • The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower
  • In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak

Art courtesy of the American Library Association. View ALA’s top ten challenged books lists here.

110+ Challenged and Banned Books and Plays to Read for Banned Books Week!

Banned books weekLooking for something to read during your Banned Books Week celebrations? Start here!

ALA OIF Top Ten Most Challenged Books of 2017

The American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) has published their annual list of the ten most frequently challenged and banned books, along with an analysis of the censorship threats facing U.S. schools and libraries.

In 2017, the following books were among the most frequently attacked:

  1. Banned Spotlight: Thirteen Reasons Why
  2. Banned Spotlight: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
  3. Banned Spotlight: Drama
  4. Banned Spotlight: The Kite Runner
  5. Banned Spotlight: George
  6. Banned Spotlight: Sex Is a Funny Word
  7. Banned Spotlight: To Kill a Mockingbird
  8. Banned Spotlight: The Hate U Give
  9. Banned Spotlight: And Tango Makes Three
  10. Banned Spotlight: I Am Jazz

If you’re looking for EVEN MORE challenged and banned books to read, check out the top ten lists for previous years here!

The National Council for Teachers of English has also compiled a comprehensive list of books that have been challenged between 2002 and 2018. View the list here!

Banned Spotlight: Censored Comics

Comics are challenged for all of the same reasons that other books are challenged, but they are uniquely vulnerable to challenges because of their visual nature. Because comics thrive on the power of the static image, a single page or panel can be the impetus for a challenge in a way that’s different from a passage in a book. Some people still believe that comics are low value speech or are made exclusively for children, and object to comics in the library because of these misconceptions. Comic Book Legal Defense Fund specializes in the defense of comics and graphic novels and the First Amendment rights of the comics community. Find out more about these 30 comics, which CBLDF has helped defend!

Banned Spotlight: Plays and Musicals

The Dramatists Legal Defense Fund works to protect the rights of playwrights and performers, including their First Amendment rights to stage a work. One of the tools DLDF provides is The Defender, a database of dramatic works that have been challenged or censored. At present, the list includes more than 70 works that have been targeted by censors. Find out more here…

Local Pastors Attempt to Ban Books from Banned Books Display at Maine Public Library

Banned books display at Rumford Public Library (via Twitter user Katje Fae @katjefae)

A group of pastors in Rumford, Maine are attempting to have LGBTQ books banned from the Rumford Public Library’s display of banned books. The library is holding a board meeting today, where the controversy will be discussed. The National Coalition Against Censorship and Comic Book Legal Defense Fund support Rumford Public Library’s display and freedom to choose how best to serve their community. NCAC and CBLDF oppose efforts to limit a whole community’s access to books based on the personal viewpoints or religious beliefs of some groups or individuals in that community. As public institutions, libraries are obligated not to discriminate on the basis of viewpoint or sexual orientation.

The display coincides with Banned Books Week, an annual celebration of the freedom to read, highlighting books that often draw challenges in schools and libraries. Half of the books on this year’s American Library Association Top 10 Banned Books list tell stories of LGBTQ characters. Books representing a wide variety of experiences and voices allow readers, particularly children, to find connection, safely explore unfamiliar ideas, and broaden their understanding of the world.

This article was originally posted by the National Coalition Against Censorship. The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund has posted additional information and a statement from Executive Director Charles Brownstein here.

Banned Spotlight: The Kite Runner

Khaled Hosseini’s acclaimed debut novel The Kite Runner has sold millions of copies and inspired a popular film, but the book has been met with several challenges since its 2003 release. In 2017, it was the fourth most challenged book according to the American Library Association. It was challenged for sexual violence, and Islamophobia fueled some challenges, with would-be censors arguing that the novel would inspire terrorism and promoted Islam. The book also appeared on the top ten lists for 2014 (offensive language, unsuited to age group, violence), 2012 (homosexuality, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit), and 2008 (offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group).

The protagonist of The Kite Runner is Amir, the son of a wealthy businessman, who befriends Hassan, the son of one of his father’s servants, in 1970s Afghanistan. The story transitions in time between pre-revolution Afghanistan and the 1990s, when Amir, now a successful novelist in the United States, learns that Hassan and his wife have been killed by the Taliban. As Amir sets out to Kabul to rescue Hassan’s son Sohrab, he contends with the repercussions of his childhood betrayal of Hassan. Since publication, the book has been embraced in educational settings as a way to address the abuse of power, themes of redemption, the immigrant experience, and Afghani history.

In 2017, The Kite Runner was notably challenged in two locales. The book was suddenly pulled from the curriculum district-wide in Gilbert, Arizona, when the Hugley Unified School District informed teachers that the book would not longer be used in classrooms or for independent reading shortly before Grade 10 honors English students were set to begin studying it. A reason wasn’t given, and the school claimed that it was because the book hadn’t been properly vetted, but student journalists determined otherwise, learning that the book had been approved and in use for five years already. The book did not undergo district review processes.

Later in the year, a school board member in Fishers, Indiana, vocally protested the inclusion of The Kite Runner in AP Literature and Composition courses after her daughter had been assigned the novel. Unlike Gilbert, the district undertook the appropriate challenge and review policies. The Kite Runner has also been challenged in North Carolina and Wisconsin, and it was recently red-flagged in California in violation of state law.

Find more of ALA OIF’s top ten challenged and banned lists here.