About Banned Books Week
Banned Books Week was initiated by the American Library Association (ALA) in 1982 in response to an increasing number of challenges in the US to books in schools, bookstores and libraries. Banned Books Week UK is a week long celebration of the freedom to read coordinated by partner organisations Index on Censorship, The British Library, English PEN, Free Word Centre, Islington Library and Heritage Services, Media Diversified, The Publishers Association, the Royal Society of Literature, Hachette UK and Libraries Connected in association with the ALA.
What do we mean by ‘Banned’?
By ‘banned’, we mean any book that has been censored, banned or where its removal or restriction has been called for from libraries, schools, bookshops or public circulation. A book might be challenged by individuals, private pressure groups or governments who disagree with its content or message and therefore wish to censor or silence the author’s voice.
‘We need books to discover and learn. That is why through the centuries those with power have sought to ban them or restrict such access. This is happening today in many parts of the world. I give my total support to the vital task of challenging these attempts to deny our rights and our values as human beings.’
~ Jonathan Dimbleby
‘There is no idea more dangerous than the idea that some ideas are too dangerous to encounter. There are books I deplore as foolish, hateful or simply very, very poor — but I recognise that the power to suppress books is much more likely to be used against the books I admire (books that challenge power, orthodoxy and the establishment) than the books that offend me, which tend to be boot licking texts celebrating the divine right of kings, bankers and other unsavoury types.’
~ Cory Doctorow
‘In a time when libraries are so threatened, borrowing and reading a banned book and discovering a hidden voice might be one of the most powerful things you do.’
~ Preti Taneja
“Banned Books Week forces us to reflect on the history and actuality of censorship, and once more to confront the chilling truth that where books are burned, humans follow and where writers are silenced, the population suffers.”
~ Lisa Appignanesi
‘Banned Books Week is still necessary in 2018 , to remind us that although some battles have been won, the clock can always be put back, and of the importance of literature, and freedom in its expression for a vibrant culture.’
~ Maureen Duffy
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