Freedom of expression organisation Index on Censorship has joined the Banned Books Week Coalition as the first international member of the US-based alliance.
Banned Books Week was launched in the United States in 1982 in response to a sudden surge in attempts to have books removed or otherwise restricted in schools, bookstores and libraries. More than 11,300 books have been challenged since 1982 according to the American Library Association, a member of the coalition.
Each year a host of events are held across the United States such as author readings in bookshops, libraries, and schools, as well as panel discussions and webinars.
Jodie Ginsberg, c.e.o. of Index on Censorship, said: "Index is excited to be joining the coalition as the first non-US member. We have been publishing work by censored writers from around the world for 45 years and - given all that is happening on the global political stage - it feels more important than ever to be highlighting censorship and demonstrating just what it means when books are banned”.
Index on Censorship has been publishing for 43 years on issues of freedom of expression.
The theme of this year’s Banned Books Week will be 'Our Right to Read'. Index plans to host a number of events in the UK during Banned Books Week, which runs from 24th-30th September 2017, as well as participating in events in the United States.
Charles Brownstein, chair of the Banned Books Week Coalition and executive director of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, said: "We are very excited to have the Index on Censorship join the coalition. Their work not only aligns with our mission, but will bring an international perspective and awareness to our annual celebration of the freedom to read."
Other members of the coalition include American Booksellers for Free Expression, American Society of Journalists and Authors, Association of American Publishers, Association of American University Presses, Authors’ Guild, Dramatist Legal Defense Fund, Freedom to Read Foundation, National Coalition Against Censorship, National Council of Teachers of English, People For the American Way, PEN America, and Project Censored.
Last year, the British Library, the Free Word Centre and Islington Libraries came together alongside the American Library Association (ALA) to celebrate Banned Books Week in the UK for the first time.