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Banned Books Week 2021 Announced

Reynolds Named Inaugural Honorary Chair

Banned Books Week will be celebrated September 26-October 2, 2021, with award-winning author and outspoken critic of censorship Jason Reynolds as the event’s inaugural Honorary Chair.

This year’s theme—”Books Unite Us. Censorship Divides Us.”—emphasizes the ways that books bring people together and aid the development of empathy and understanding. “Any time we eliminate or wall off certain narratives, we are not getting a whole picture of the world in which we live,” Reynolds said. “And navigating the world in a way that is closed-off, closed-minded, is poisonous. It means that we limit our vocabulary, which complicates how we communicate with one another.”

This event announcement follows last week’s release of the Top 10 Most Challenged Books of 2020 list by the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom. The list includes two books coauthored by Reynolds: Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You, with Ibram X. Kendi, and All American Boys, with Brendan Kiely.

The Association of University Presses, which holds intellectual freedom as a core value, is proud to be a member of the Banned Books Week Coalition. The freedom to read is integral to the freedom to learn, to question, and to think. We urge all university presses to highlight the ways that our community supports the freedom to read during this week in the fall and year-round.

The Coalition’s full press release, along with a video statement by Reynolds, is available here.

Member presses: Find AUPresses suggestions and resources for observing Banned Books Week. Please contact Annette Windhorn, awindhorn@aupresses.org, with information about planned activities for #bannedbooksweek or news of challenges to your publications.

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