Bookseller Briefing 29/18 – week ending 20 July

The Bookseller

Public asked to vote on favourite banned book

A public vote is set to launch this week to find the nation’s favourite banned book.

It is taking place in the run up to the week-long celebration of banned books in September. From Wednesday 18th July until 22th August, the Banned Books censored summer reads campaign will suggest five titles each fortnight which have been banned, censored or challenged.

The public will be encouraged to try books they might not have considered before and vote on their favourite to be in with a chance of winning a box of banned books.

Titles include texts famous for having caused controversy, such as The Communist Manifesto and Lady Chatterley’s Lover, but also  novels less well-known for having provoked the censors’ ire, such as collections by Maya Angelou, one of the USA’s most censored authors; J K Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone; and even children’s book And Tango Makes Three by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson, which has been condemned for highlighting gay parenting by penguins.

The results of the Banned Books censored summer reads vote will be published in September. Participants will be entered into a draw to win a box of 10 banned books donated by Vintage Books, which have all been challenged or subject to censorship, including titles such as Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses and Mikhail Bulgakov’s The Master and the Margarita.

The list of suggested titles, compiled by Index on Censorship and Media Diversified, will be available on the Banned Books Week website. The website will also offer additional material including a top 10 ideas of what to do during Banned Books Week, a young adult banned books list and schools toolkit compiled by Islington Council’s Library and Heritage Service.

Banned Books Week UK mirrors a similar initiative in the United States and aims to highlight the importance of ensuring the freedom to read, write and publish. Libraries, bookshops, schools and reading groups are being encouraged to hold events that celebrate the freedom to read and challenge the silencing of voices and ideas.

Events already planned include a special evening at the British Library with Censored: Inside the Lord Chamberlain’s Office marking the enactment of the Theatres Act 1968, which abolished theatre censorship in the United Kingdom, as well as a Banned Books Week Quiz hosted by Saqi books plus readings and talks by partners and participants.

Banned Books Week runs from 23rd to 29th September 2018.