When you think of the month of September, images of crunchy leaves, new classes, football games, and pumpkin spice lattes might come to mind. At the Writing Center, the month of September is synonymous with the celebration of Banned Books Week. This is one of our most favorite events and we look forward annually to showcasing banned books and the impact that censorship has on our lives.
The banning of books and censorship of the written word, sadly, is not a new concept. In contemporary times, many books are still challenged, and many are banned for various reasons. I was recently reading my hometown’s newspaper, and on the front page was an article about my old school district in Michigan reviewing books for possible banning. Each year, shining a light on the importance of hearing diverse voices, perspectives, and beliefs becomes even more crucial. It seems like every time I scroll through local or national news, the threat towards freedom of expression is front and center.
At the Writing Center, we celebrate Banned Books Week during the months of September and October. Annually, we hold a banned books writing contest and highlight resources that investigate censorship. Please consider submitting your own creative writing piece to the writing contest, information below. Please also visit us at the Writing Center for free information about banned books, to meet with a writing tutor to go over an assignment, or just to see what we have up our sleeves this fall. We look forward to seeing you!
Banned Books Writing Contest Prompt (2022)
In honor of Banned Books (September 18-24), the Writing Center invites you to submit to their annual writing contest.
This year, we are asking for creative writing submissions that respond to the prompt:
Imagine you just landed on a newly discovered planet called Censor. You roam the streets and explore the flora and fauna of this new planet. On your second day visiting the new planet, you wander into a broken-down building that looks like an old library. In the library you find mostly empty bookshelves, torn pages on the floor, and posters about the danger of reading. The few remaining books have all been blacked out. You learn that all books and reading of any material not sanctioned by those in charge are forbidden.
Create a piece of writing about your experiences in the library of Censor. Your piece could read like a journal entry, a letter to someone back home on Earth, a newspaper article, etc.
Submissions should be around 500 words and should be submitted by October 10 at 11:59 p.m.
Please email submissions to: email@example.com
Additional Resources and Articles:
- PEN America
- American Libraries Association
- Banned Books Week Events
- Most Challenged Books
- Book Bans: What to Know
- Book Banning Efforts Surged in 2021. These Titles Were the Most Targeted.
- ‘Unparalleled in intensity’ – 1,500 book bans in US school districts.
- U.S. schools pull more than 1,000 book titles in 'unparalleled' censorship bid, report finds