Join us for a free movie night at the Coralville Public Library. We are showing Fahrenheit 451 (1966) for Banned Books Week.
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.
Join us again for our in-person book club meeting at the 110 Grill with Assistant Library Director Scott Campbell.
In support of Banned Books Week, and continuing our theme of books about books, both the library’s in-person and Zoom book groups will read Ray Bradbury’s classic dystopian novel “Fahrenheit 451.” We will be sharing our thoughts about the book itself, and as it is Banned Books Week, we’ll discuss the renewed efforts to limit our freedom to read.
“Fahrenheit 451” is relatively short and a fairly easy read, but it packs a punch. In the its dystopian reality, reading is viewed as inherently subversive and a threat to upset the TV-opiated populace. If you have books, the firemen will come. Our central character is fireman “Guy,” and he and his team go around town burning books and the houses where books are secretly hidden. Eventually, he starts to question the practice, but it’s a dangerous thing to even think about.
We invite you to read (or re-read) it with us.
To facilitate this discussion, we will have a guest expert joining us, Dr. Joshua Tepley. Dr. Tepley is an Associate Professor of Philosophy at Saint Anselm College, where he has worked since 2012. He received his B.A. in Philosophy from Bucknell University (2004) and his Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of Notre Dame (2013). His research interests include free will, personal identity, ontology (the study of being), and the intersection between philosophy and science fiction. “I love reading and discussing science fiction,” he says, “because it raises important philosophical questions in a way that is more relatable and engaging for non-philosophers than traditional philosophical writing is.”
This program is made possible by a grant from New Hampshire Humanities, as part of their Perspectives Book Group program. Thanks to them for providing books and the facilitator for this book discussion. Learn more at www.nhhumanities.org.
Location: We’ll meet once again at 110 Grill in Stratham. You may order drinks during our talk, but to avoid disruption, please eat dinner before or after our discussion.