Author Studs Terkel headlines Banned Books Week read-out to draw attention to censorship

Contact: Larra Clark


For Immediate Release

September 24, 2002

Author Studs Terkel headlines Banned Books Week read-out to draw attention to censorship

More than 20 authors, artists, columnists and librarians gathered on the front steps of the American Library Association (ALA) in Chicago today and voiced their freedom to read by participating in a read-out of banned books. The read-out celebrated the American freedom to read and drew attention to censorship issues that continue today.

Among the readers were authors Studs Terkel, Sara Paretsky, Michael Raleigh and Richard Crow;
Sylvia comic strip creator Nicole Hollander; Chicago Tribune columnist Mary Schmich; Chicago Sun-Times editorial page editor Steven Huntley; poet, educator, editor and publisher Dr. Haki Madhubuti; American Booksellers Association President Ann Christophersen; former ALA presidents John W. Berry and Sarah Ann Long; former ALA executive director, William R. Gordon, and members of the ALA staff.

Participants read selections from such classic banned books as "In Cold Blood" by Truman Capote; "Black Boy" by Richard Wright; "The Giver" by Lois Lowry; "Grapes of Wrath" by John Steinbeck and "An American Tragedy" by Theodore Dreiser.

The read-out was part of Banned Books Week 2002, September 21-28. This weeklong celebration is held every year in September to remind Americans not to take this precious democratic freedom for granted. This year's theme is "Let Freedom Read: Read a Banned Book." Hundreds of libraries and bookstores nationwide are celebrating this year with read-outs, exhibits and special programs.

The ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom has recorded more than 7,000 book challenges since 1990, including 448 challenges last year. Each challenge is an effort to remove books from school curricula or library shelves.

Banned Books Week is sponsored by the American Booksellers Association, the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, the ALA, the American Society of Journalists and Authors, the Association of American Publishers and the National Association of College Stores. It is endorsed by the Center for the Book of the Library of Congress. For more information about Banned Books Week visit the