George Orwell’s “1984”
Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird”
Mark Twain’s “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”
James Joyce’s “Ulysses”
Maya Angelou’s “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings”
Alice Walker’s “The Color Purple”
Those are just a few of the great literary works that have been challenged by would-be book banners. Heck, even the Harry Potter series of books has come under fire.
In an effort to fight back against this censorship, the American Library Association founded Banned Books Week in 1982, celebrating our Constitutional right to express ideas even if they are unpopular, unorthodox or controversial.
This year, the Capital Region Chapter of the New York Civil Liberties Union will once again sponsor several local observances of Banned Books Week in Nippertown:
Friday, September 25, 6pm at 277 River St., Troy: As part of the Vacant Storefront Artist Project and in conjunction with the Troy Night Out arts walk, Nippertown notables will read from their favorite “banned” books and ask audience members to identify the works from which the excerpts are taken. Readers include Paul Grondahl and Rex Smith (of the Albany Times Union), Lisa Lewis (Troy Record), David Soares (Albany County district attorney), Bob Congemi (Empire State College), Donald Faulkner (New York State Writers Institute), David Griggs-Janower (Albany Pro-Musica) and others.
Thursday, October 1, 7pm at The Linda, 318 Central Ave., Albany: It’s “Books On Stage,” an evening of readings and performances from banned books, as well as two short one-act plays that explore the First Amendment and access to great works of literature.
Admission to both events is free.