Dear Banned Author is a letter-writing campaign hosted by the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom. During Banned Books Week (September 23-29), readers are encouraged to write to their favorite banned or challenged authors, sharing what their stories meant to them. The goal of the campaign is to not only raise awareness of books that are threatened with censorship and support authors, but also encourage thoughtful discussions about the power of words and how essential it is to have access to a variety of viewpoints in libraries. Authors also have shared fan letters as support when there's a public challenge to their books.
Speaking out for banned and challenged books is vital in the fight against censorship. This webpage includes resources and ideas on participating in the Dear Banned Author letter-writing campaign and hosting letter-writing programs.
Librarians & Educators
Thank you for being fierce defenders of the freedom to read. We hope the resources on this page help you host a letter-writing program at your library. Along with printable postcards, there are also some promotional tools and ideas on how to encourage conversations online. But the writing doesn't have to stop there. During Banned Books Week, the Public Library Association is launching a national short story contest. More details can be found on their webpage. Please feel free to contact us with questions or ideas at BBW@ala.org.
You have our support,
Your words have the power to sway decisions, to defend access to books, to stop censorship. Your words can combat the silencing of stories. Thank you for reading banned books and defending the freedom to read. This page has printable postcards and tips on how to write a letter. What book has impacted your life? Choose an author from the Banned & Challenged Author Addresses & Twitter Handles list and start writing! The list also includes links to authors' Twitter handles, if you also want to share your story online. Please feel free to use the hashtag #DearBannedAuthor, so we can share these stories widely.
Keep writing, rebel readers,
Postcards & Addresses
Find banned and challenged authors' publisher addresses and Twitter handles on this printable Google Sheet. Here is a PDF of the updated list. Do you have a banned or challenged author address you want included? Please email us with the author name and publisher address.
Below are postcards that can be printed for a banned author letter-writing program. Select a postcard image to open a print-ready PDF.
Tips for Hosting a Program
- Provide non-messy snacks like pretzels or popcorn.
- Provide a wide variety of writing instruments with fun choices for color and ink type. Include Wite-out too!
- Place dictionaries, thesauruses, and writing or grammar guides on the tables.
- Create a playlist for background music to set the tone of your event (for example, soothing classical or scores from books that have been made into movies).
- Create tabletop prompts for inspiration.
- Provide stamps.
- For extra fun, purchase a toy mailbox for readers to “send” their postcards and letters. Melissa & Doug have a few varieties.
Tips for Writing a Letter
- Use a good pen, proper spelling, and neat penmanship.
- Introduce yourself.
- Express why you like their writing or what specific book had an impact on you.
- Make it personal to you.
- Include your contact information in case they want to reply, but don’t expect a response.
- Say thank you.
Tips for Tweeting
When tweeting to a banned or challenged author, or posting about it online, consider:
- Including the hashtag #DearBannedAuthor. This allows the American Library Association to find and share your stories.
- Discussing how the book impacted your life, made you feel, or your favorite quotes
- Posting a photo of you reading the book or of your postcard
- Blurring or covering up your own address or private information before sharing pictures of postcards
Promotional Tools for Libraries
Find more Banned Books Week images on the Free Downloads webpage.
- The Handmaid's Tale. Harry Potter. The Perks of Being a Wallflower. In celebration of #BannedBooksWeek, check out these banned and challenged titles from the library, then write a letter to the authors. #DearBannedAuthor
- Celebrate your "write" to read this #BannedBooksWeek by sending a letter to your favorite banned and challenged author. More details: https://bit.ly/2PwMYsS
- Your words have the power to stop censorship. What will you say? [link to event] #DearBannedAuthor
- Speak out for banned books! This #BannedBooksWeek, join us in writing a letter to your favorite banned and challenged author. goo.gl/XZ7fwW #DearBannedAuthor
Short Story Contest
Writers, do you have the courage to set your stories free? The ALA Public Library Association is hosting a national short story contest. The contest begins Tuesday, September 25, 2018 and closes Tuesday, October 30, 2018. Learn how to submit stories and find tips on hosting writing programs on the PLA website.