Upcoming Events Spotlight Comics Censorship


Several upcoming events are spotlighting Banned Books Week and the censorship of comics. CBLDF’s own Charles Brownstein is among the speakers discussing the challenges comics face! Keep reading for a list of events to add to your calendar!

Banned Books Week is September 24 – 30. CBLDF is a sponsor of the annual celebration of the freedom to read. Last week, we released our Banned Books Week Handbook, and we’ll be releasing more resources in the coming weeks. So, stay tuned!

If you are hosting an event or Banned Books Week display, let us know about it! Register your event with Banned Books Week at http://www.bannedbooksweek.org/events and send an email to betsy.gomez@cbldf.org!

Wednesday, September 13

The Mad Cartoonists of Cairo: The Dangerous World of Middle East Censorship and the Emergence of Arab Comix
Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University • Cambridge, MA • 4:00 p.m.

At the Radcliffe Institute, Jonathan Guyer is writing a book on the new wave of comic art that has electrified the Middle East and North Africa over the past decade. Through close examination of graphic narratives and conversations with artists, his project aims to address long-standing questions around the limits of free speech, the role of satire as a form of dissent, and the politics of art in authoritarian states. More info here.

Friday, September 15

The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund: Comics & The Power of Intellectual Freedom
Library of Congress • Washington DC • 12:00 – 1:00 p.m.

This year — on Small Press Expo eve — CBLDF Executive Director Charles Brownstein will be the featured speaker for the annual SPX festival program at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.!

Brownstein will be discussing our work and the history of comics censorship in a free one-hour lunchtime talk sponsored by the Library’s Serial & Government Publications Division, which curates and houses a collection of SPX books and paraphernalia in cooperation with the Prints & Photographs Division. A selection of comics from the Library’s collection will also be on display.

The free talk will take place on Friday, September 15, from 12:00 – 1:00 p.m. in the West Dining Room (LM 621) on the sixth floor of the Library of Congress Madison Building, 101 Independence Avenue SE, Washington, D.C.

Monday, September 25

PEN Out Loud: I Write Banned Books
Strand Bookstore • New York, NY • 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.

Censorship is happening today and it is infringing on the right of readers.

In celebration and defiance during Banned Books Week 2017, PEN America in partnership with Strand Books invites authors — whose books have been banned or challenged because of their cover art and content — to discuss their experiences, and how to get skeptical readers to live up to the saying “don’t judge a book by its cover.”

The discussion will feature David Levithan, author of Two Boys Kissing, which was challenged in part because of the cover photograph of two boys kissing, Coe Booth, whose honest portrayals of inner city life have met with challenges across the country, and Ariel Schrag, whose comics anthology Stuck in the Middle has received multiple challenges due to “explicit language and content.” The panel will be moderated by Jason Low! More info here.

Saturday, September 30

Words Have Power! Banned Books Buffet at East
Milwaukee Public Library • Milwaukee, WI • 12:00 – 2:00 p.m.

Celebrate Banned Books Week with a Buffet of Banned Books! Banned Books Week is an annual celebration of the freedom to read and recognition of the importance of the First Amendment. The buffet will include samplings from the most challenged books across the country. Celebrate your right to read at East Branch library, and make a few banned book buttons! More info here.

Banned Together: A Censorship Cabaret
Queensbury Theatre • Houston, TX • 7:00 p.m.

Presented by the Dramatists Legal Defense Fund, in conjunction with Queensbury and the Tribble School of the Performing Arts, Banned Together: A Censorship Cabaret is a celebration of songs and scenes from shows that have been censored or challenged on America’s stages. Banned Together features a libretto written by John Weidman, directed by John Feltch, and featuring performed selections from Chicago; Rent; Fun Home; Angels in America; Almost Maine and many other challenged works. Banned Togerther is presented as a part of Banned Book Week, the annual celebration of the freedom to read. Admission is free. RSVP here.

Tuesday, October 17

Just Art? Free Speech and Censorship in Comics and Graphic Illustration | Graphic Thinking
Temple University • Philadelphia, PA • 9:30 – 10:50 a.m.

Noting the long history of censorship in the comic book world, this panel will explore the role comics, editorial cartoons, and graphic illustration play in issues of censorship and free speech, as well as the history of censorship of comics in the United States. Paying particularly attention to the use of stereotypes in political cartoons and free speech on college campuses, our panelists will discuss the complexities surrounding these issues. Registration deadline is September 11. More info here.

Help support CBLDF’s important First Amendment work in 2017 by visiting the Rewards Zonemaking a donation, or becoming a member of CBLDF!