“This year we spotlight graphic novels because, despite their serious literary merit and popularity as a genre, they are often subject to censorship,”
Banned Books Week 2014 to Celebrate Graphic Novels and Comics
Washington, DC; June 4, 2014 — The national Banned Books Week planning committee, of which AAP is a founding sponsor, announced today that this year's celebration of the freedom to read will emphasize comics and graphic novels as its theme. Events to be produced by sponsors, libraries, retailers and readers worldwide from September 21-27 will feature this distinctive storytelling form and celebrate the value of graphic novels to all kinds of readers.
“This year we spotlight graphic novels because, despite their serious literary merit and popularity as a genre, they are often subject to censorship,” said Judith Platt, chair, Banned Books Week National Committee and Director, Free Expression Advocacy, AAP.
Recently, the acclaimed memoir Fun Home, by Alison Bechdel, has been the centerpiece of a university funding controversy in South Carolina. Persepolis, by Marjane Satrapi, faced an attempted ban in the Chicago Public Schools. Graphic novels continually appear on the American Library Association’s annual Top 10 list of the most frequently challenged books. ALA’s current list, released in April, includes Dav Pilkey's Captain Underpants as #1 and Jeff Smith's series Bone as #10.
“In our 32 years as a founding member of Banned Book Week, AAP publishers have seen original genres emerge, public interest in them grow and new censorship challenges arise. With graphic novels and comic works under the microscope more than ever, this year’s focus for Banned Books Week is a timely fit,” said Tom Allen, President and CEO, AAP.
“A cornerstone of AAP’s mission is support for the freedoms to read and publish. While our association is at the forefront of advocacy efforts on behalf of these rights year-round, we look forward to collaborating with libraries, booksellers, readers and the entire books community on this happy annual celebration.”
Banned Books Week features readouts, displays and community activities designed to raise awareness of the ongoing threats of censorship that continue to occur. The Banned Books Week website is a hub for information about how individuals and institutions can become involved in celebrating this important event and includes resources and activities provided by event sponsors.
In addition to AAP, Banned Books Week is sponsored by the American Booksellers Association, American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, American Library Association, American Society of Journalists and Authors, Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, Freedom to Read Foundation, National Association of College Stores, National Coalition Against Censorship, National Council of Teachers of English, PEN American Center and Project Censored.
About AAP and its Freedom of Expression work
AAP is active in First Amendment issues, providing legislative advocacy at the state and federal levels. It has participated as a plaintiff or friend-of-the-court in free speech cases for more than 40 years and produces educational programs with other anti-censorship organizations for librarians, booksellers and authors. The AAP Freedom to Read Committee serves as the publishing industry’s watchdog on a wide-ranging slate of free speech-related issues. The AAP International Freedom to Publish Committee has defended authors and publishers worldwide.
As a Banned Books Week founding partner, AAP is committed to the goal of mobilizing public support for the continued availability of the widest possible variety of books and reading materials including those that put forth controversial or unpopular views.
The Association of American Publishers (AAP) represents about four hundred member organizations including major commercial, digital learning and education and professional publishers alongside independents, non-profits, university presses and scholarly societies. We represent the industry’s priorities on policy, legislative and regulatory issues regionally, nationally and worldwide. These include the protection of intellectual property rights and worldwide copyright enforcement, digital and new technology issues, funding for education and libraries, tax and trade, censorship and literacy. Find us online at www.publishers.org or on twitter at @AmericanPublish.