Happy Banned Books Week! Here at Fantasy Matters, we are proud to participate in this week celebrating the freedom to read what we want and promoting the importance of the First Amendment. The centerpiece of national celebrations of this week is a virtual read-out, in which anyone (and everyone) is invited to read a favorite banned or challenged book on video, and then upload it to a dedicated YouTube channel. More information about this read-out, as well as other events, can be found here.
Why do we care, you ask? The freedom to read what we want is one that we think is vital--not just for the sake of our own personal enjoyment, but also because we believe that having a population that is able to read freely and think critically is a necessity for any healthy society.
This issue is also one that hits close to home for us. Many of the books on the list of top banned or challenged books in the last 10 years are works of fantasy or science fiction. Brave New World. The Hunger Games. Twilight. His Dark Materials trilogy. Harry Potter.
And so, this week, we're featuring essays that address different and complicated aspects of the issues surrounding banned books--the power of language, the importance of not banning anything, ever, and the importance of talking about difficult things that we read.
We are also very excited to feature an interview with Helen Oyeyemi, whose latest novel, Mr. Fox, is coming out this Thursday. It's going to be a great week, filled with books that we love and conversations about why it's important to let people read anything--even the books that we don't love. We hope you'll come back often and let us know what you think!