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 Questions? Contact Alexandra Owens in the ASJA office or Sally Wendkos Olds ( 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