Authors Guild’s Banned Books Club highlights censored works

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This cover image released by Random House Children’s Books shows “Two Boys Kissing,” a young adult book by David Levithan. (Random House Children’s Books via AP)

NEW YORK (AP) — The Authors Guild is launching a Banned Books Club, the latest initiative from the literary world in response to the nationwide wave of censorship and restrictions over the past year.

Through a partnership with the book club app Fable, the Authors Guild will each month for the next year highlight a fiction or nonfiction work that has been pulled from a classroom or school library and facilitate a discussion with the author. The first selection for the online club ( authorsguild.org/bannedbooksclub ) is David Levithan’s young adult novel “Two Boys Kissing.”

“Our goal is to give both students and adults the chance to read and learn more about the books being banned in their districts and elsewhere and provide the rare opportunity to engage on the platform with the authors of those works,” Mary Rasenberger, CEO of the Authors Guild, said in a statement Thursday.

Levithan, a prize-winning author who also runs a young adult imprint at Scholastic, said in a statement that the new club would be “a great forum to discuss not only why these books are being challenged, but how to support the kids who are disenfranchised by such challenges.”

The Guild, founded in 1912, is comprised of more than 10,000 published authors.

In the past few weeks, the New York Public Library has made Laurie Halse Anderson’s “Speak” and a handful of other challenged works available to all through its app, and the Brooklyn Public Library launched Books UnBanned, through which young people nationwide ages 13 to 21 can receive a free library card.

We Need Diverse Books, a grassroots organization that advocates for more inclusiveness in publishing, is distributing grants of $2,000 each to teachers and libraries that can be used for author visits, the purchase of diverse books and other efforts to combat censorship.

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