This is the final day of Banned Books Week 2018, and I’m about to turn this thing over to you. What are you willing to do to support banned and challenged artists?
One obvious move, of course, is to pick up a few controversial books and read them, and then talk about them with friends and family. See plays, visit museums, listen to music, memorize poetry (mark your calendars — Poem in Your Pocket Day comes around every April). Engage with the diversity that’s out there, and get to know something new. Put your brain to work.
You could also do this: The ALA has started a Dear Banned Author letter-writing campaign. Write to an author whose banned book/s have been important to you.
At a conference I attended a few years ago, Chris Crutcher, as part of an anti-censorship panel, defended Sherman Alexie’s Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, which was facing challenges and bans because of sexual content. Afterwards, an audience member approached him. “Mr. Crutcher,” she said, “I’m sorry, but I just don’t believe in masturbation.” Without hesitating, Crutcher replied, “Lady, that’s ok. It doesn’t need you to believe in it.”
Nearly all of Crutcher’s books have been challenged, so I think I’ll drop him a line. He deserves another letter from someone who loves his work.
Tomorrow, Banned Books Week will be over, but censorship will continue. Do what you can to make sure people’s stories aren’t silenced.