If you’ve been paying attention to local news in the past year, you’ve likely noticed the concerning wave of book bans sweeping the nation. Books by authors of color; books that acknowledge historical atrocities; books featuring LGBTQ+ characters; sex education books for teens; all are under threat.
Concerned? I certainly am. Helpfully, the Authors Guild, the nation’s oldest and largest professional organization of writers—which defends the right of all authors to write without interference or threat—has put together an action kit to fight book bans. They’ve created sample documents to help you send an email to your town or city school board asking them to fight requests to ban books; write an op-ed for your local newspaper about the dangers of censorship; and send an email or letter to your state representative expressing concern about the growing number of states outlawing the teaching of “critical race theory”, which is a scare tactic to outlaw discussions about racial and gender inequity and sexuality.
“The Authors Guild advocates for the rights of professional writers to create, publish, and earn a sustainable living as fiction and nonfiction writers, poets, translators, and journalists,” wrote the Authors Guild in a statement. “Book banning, whether challenged by the right or the left, interferes with those rights, not only by suppressing free speech and freedom of expression but by making it harder for authors to sell copies of their work.” When free speech is targeted, no one wins.