An Evening Without (Sept. 30, 2009)

Observe Banned Books Week with ACLU-Vt and famous Vermont writers reading from books subjected to bans, or whose authors were denied entry to the United States.  Join us at 7 p.m. at the Norwich Congregational Church in Norwich.

Banned Books Week exists as a reminder to Americans that we cannot take our cherished rights to read, to think, and to express ourselves for granted.  In our nation’s recent history, many works of literature have been removed from public library, bookstore, or school shelves in the name of protecting Americans from dangerous or scurrilous ideas.

To mark the occasion of Banned Books Week, the ACLU of Vermont is staging An Evening Without, a celebration of literature that features noted Vermont writers reading from works of literature that have been subjected to bans, or whose authors were barred from the U.S. because of their political viewpoints. Co-sponsor is PEN New England, an organization of published authors, aspiring writers, and all who love the written word.

Featured readers include Emily Bernard, Tom Bodett, Jody Gladding, David Goodman, Garret Keizer, Karen Hesse, Galway Kinnell, Willem Lange, David Macaulay, Ron Powers, Sarah Strohmeyer, Catherine Tudish, and Naima K. Wade.

ACLU Executive Director Allen Gilbert will emcee the event, putting the readings into their historical context.  The readings will weave together the story of the challenges to the works of literature, and of the exclusion from the country of certain authors.

The authors from whom selections will be read represent a broad range of viewpoints: Maya Angelou, Carlos Fuentes, Emma Goldman, Farley Mowat, George Orwell, Pablo Neruda, Katherine Paterson, John Steinbeck, Kurt Vonnegut, and Alice Walker.

Banned Books Week is an annual event sponsored during the last week of September by the American Library Association and noted nationally. It was first observed in 1982 to celebrate the freedom to choose or the freedom to express one’s opinion, even if that opinion might be considered unorthodox or unpopular.

View/download a poster for Evening Without.

The Norwich Congregational Church is at 15 Church St., on the town green in Norwich. Norwich is right off Exit 13 on I-91, across the Connecticut River from Hanover, NH.

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