September 15, 2022
Banned Books Week 2022 is next week, September 18-24. The theme this year is “Books Unite Us. Censorship Divides Us.”
In this time of increased attacks on books in schools and public libraries, there is a special urgency to Banned Books Week this year. According to the American Library Association, in 2021, there were 729 challenges targeting nearly 1,600 books in schools and libraries. A variety of other initiatives have been launched using a playbook created by far-right groups, including the vote to defund a Michigan public library because a local conservative group objected to books on LGBTQ topics and accused the library of “grooming” and “indoctrinating” children in “sinful” practices. A lawsuit was brought in Virginia Beach asking the court to find that two books were “obscene for unrestricted viewing by minors.”
Even worse, teachers and librarians across the country are facing harassment and risking criminal charges. Nearly a third of all states in the U.S. have passed laws that criminalize making books available to children that include certain broad, ill-defined topics, such as sexual identity, diversity, and critical race theory. The Authors Guild is actively fighting these laws and efforts to censor books, while doing all we can to support librarians, booksellers, and authors who have been victimized.
The Authors Guild is launching our participation in Banned Books Week with an online panel, “When Your Book Is Banned: The Author’s Perspective,” on Monday, September 19, at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT. Sherman Alexie, Jonathan Evison, and Ellen Hopkins will discuss their personal experiences with book bans, the recent rise in challenges, and their attitudes toward writing in this climate. Click here for more info and to register.
For more information about other Banned Books Week events, please check out bannedbooksweek.org.