2015-08-31: ASJA Co-Sponsors 34th Banned Books Week



ASJA is proud to be a member of the coalition of thirteen organizations that sponsor Banned Books Week, an annual nationwide event celebrating the freedom to read. We recognize that any abridgement of this freedom affects us all as writers, readers, researchers, and citizens, and we want to do all we can to combat censorship in any form.

Back in September 1981 ASJA launched a nationwide campaign to protest the banning of books. Dedicated to the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, we were alarmed by the removal of books and periodicals from libraries, schools, and newsstands, and we resolved to make our voice heard.

One highlight of our initial campaign was a read-out by prominent authors on the steps of the New York Public Library, held on April 1st to emphasize the foolishness of banning books. Another was the wearing of red-and-white “I Read Banned Books” buttons (which are still available from ASJA). We organized the First Amendment Committee to be our watchdog for individual threats to the freedom to read, a committee still functioning today.

In 1982 a coalition of organizations* [see list of current sponsors, below] declared Banned Books Week, and thirty-four years later, this effort is still necessary to raise public awareness of the infringement of freedom.

This year's theme is Young Adult Books, and the week from September 27 through October 3 will present events around the country in which individuals, organizations, and publishers can participate. One in New York will be a moderated panel discussion featuring banned young adult authors David Levithan, author of Boy Meets Boy, and Stephen Chbosky, author of the bestselling coming-of-age novel The Perks of Being a Wallflower. It will be held Tuesday, September 29, 7-8:30 pm at Housing Works Bookstore Café, 126 Crosby St, New York, NY 10012.

For an updated list of activities and to see how you can participate (and maybe promote your own work), go to the website www.BannedBooksWeek.org. Questions? Contact Alexandra Owens in the ASJA office or Sally Wendkos Olds (wendkosolds@alumni.upenn.edu) representing the First Amendment Committee.

*Sponsors of Banned Books Week:

  • American Booksellers Association
  • American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression
  • American Library Association
  • American Society of Journalists and Authors
  • Association of American Publishers
  • 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
  • People For the American Way Foundation
  • Project Censored.

Banned Books Week is endorsed by the Center for the Book at the Library of Congress.

About ASJA

Founded in 1948, the American Society of Journalists and Authors is the nation's professional organization of independent nonfiction writers. Our 1,200 members consist of outstanding freelance writers of magazine articles, trade books, and many other forms of nonfiction writing, each of whom has met ASJA's exacting standards of professional achievement

  • A blank piece of paper is God's way of telling us how hard it is to be God.
    – Sidney Sheldon
  • A critic is a man who knows the way but can't drive the car.
    – Kenneth Tynan
  • A good many young writers make the mistake of enclosing a stamped, self–addressed envelope, big enough for the manuscript to come back in. This is too much of a temptation to the editor.
    – Ring Lardner
  • A young musician plays scales in his room and only bores his family. A beginning writer, on the other hand, sometimes has the misfortune of getting into print.
    – Marguerite Yourcenar
  • All the words I use in my stories can be found in the dictionary – it's just a matter of arranging them into the right sentences.
    – Somerset Maugham
  • Asking a working writer what he thinks about critics is like asking a lamppost how it feels about dogs.
    – Christopher Hampton
  • Being a writer is like having homework every night for the rest of your life.
    – Lawrence Kasdan
  • Copy from one, it's plagiarism; copy from two, it's research.
    –Wilson Mizner
  • Everywhere I go I'm asked if I think the university stifles writers. My opinion is that they don't stifle enough of them.
    – Flannery O'Connor
  • I just wrote a book, but don't go out and buy it yet, because I don't think it's finished yet.
    – Lawrence Welk
  • I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.
    – Douglas Adams
  • I'm writing a book. I've got the page numbers done.
    – Stephen Wright
  • It took me fifteen years to discover I had no talent for writing, but I couldn't give it up because by that time I was too famous.
    – Robert Benchley
  • It's a damn poor mind that can only think of one way to spell a word.
    – Andrew Jackson
  • Most writers can write books faster than publishers can write checks.
    – Richard Curtis
  • No fathers or mothers think their own children ugly; and this self–deceit is yet stronger with respect to the offspring of the mind.
    – Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra
  • There are three rules for writing the novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.
    –Somerset Maugham
  • Writing a novel is like paddling from Boston to London in a bathtub. Sometimes the damn tub sinks. It's a wonder that most of them don't.
    – Stephen King
  • Writing a novel is like spelunking. You kind of create the right path for yourself. But, boy, are there so many points at which you think, absolutely, I'm going down the wrong hole here.
    – Chang–rae Lee
  • Your manuscript is both good and original, but the part that is good is not original, and the part that is original is not good.
    –Samuel Johnson