Monday, March 19, 2007

Authors Speak and Act

According to an article in the Daily Press & Argus, Erin Gruwell, author of the controversial The Freedom Writers Diary made a stop in Howell, MI, where her book has been targeted by a group of parents opposed to allowing its real-life language be allowed in the schools. I would encourage you to read the whole article.

Meanwhile, Monroe County, MI has chosen Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury for their Big Read as has Anchorage Alaska. Anchorage Daily news reports that RAY BRADBURY, 87, author of Fahrenheit 451, will participate in an interactive simulcast at 3 p.m. March 23 in the Assembly Chambers at Loussac Library. Participants are encouraged to submit questions in advance.

The CBC has taken their share of criticism for not allowing award-winning author Yann Martel to read from Mein Kampf on a radio broadcast made in celebration of Freedom to Read Week.

Bookslut interviews Maryrose Wood, who is the author of Sex Kittens and Horn Dawgs Fall in Love and is one of the authors who is taking the "Banned Book Challenge."

Whale Talk by Chris Crutcher became the second book in less than a year to be removed from Carroll School District, Iowa. It was removed from the English class after a local pastor complained about its explicit language but has since been returned. Peter Hedges' What's Eating Gilbert Grape was returned after a superintendent removed the book without following the official policy. Crutcher's official view of censorship is, "The truth screams to be told in its native tongue." He maintains a page on his site that deals with censorship issues about his and other authors' books.

In a 2005 article for the Princeton Perspective, best-selling author Jodi Picoult explains why she writes banned books.

The truth is, I don’t write easy books. I cover issues such as domestic and sexual abuse, rape, euthanasia, infidelity — topics that are unsettling. My objective as a novelist is to take you for a breathless ride, and to make you rethink what you believe, and why. What is eye-opening to one person is offensive to the next, and it is nearly impossible to draw that line, or determine who has the right to draw it....I don’t write about controversial issues because I like to be edgy. I write about them because, like my readers, I don’t have all the answers. When a moral or ethical question roots itself in my mind, I find myself thinking about what I’d do in that situation. I force myself to turn over every stone, consider the issue from every perspective. I find myself walking down roads that are often uncomfortable....

Read more about The Pact on Jodi Picoult's web site.

Cynsations, a blog that includes news about children and young adult literature speaks to Brent Hartinger about what he has been up to since the challenge to his book Geography Club over its portrayal of homosexuality.