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Utah author Shannon Hale speaks at Marriott Library for Banned Books Week

Utah author Shannon Hale.

On Oct. 4, Utah author Shannon Hale will discuss how her personal experiences as a children’s book author and lifelong Utahn have led her to believe that the freedom to read and access books is vital to a democratic and empathetic society. This event is taking place during the annual Banned Books Week, which spans from Oct. 1-7.

Let Them Eat Books – A Banned Books Week Event
Oct. 4, 2023
12-1 p.m.
Learning Space, Level 2
J. Willard Marriott Library
University of Utah

The challenges are happening at record levels across the nation in public schools and in libraries. For the 2022-23 school year, PEN America reported 3,362 instances of book bans in U.S. public school classrooms and libraries, an increase of 33% from the previous year. Utah recorded the fourth-highest number of book bans (281) after Florida (1,406), Texas (625) and Missouri (333).

Sarah Shreeves, the Alice Sheets Marriott dean of libraries at the University of Utah, comments, “I am pleased that we are holding a Banned Books Week event, especially this year given the record number of challenges across the nation. As a library, we are dedicated to the notion that the freedom to read is directly related to our freedom of thought and freedom of speech, and we should all be worried about efforts to make reading harder. I am greatly looking forward to Shannon Hale’s talk.”

The Marriott Library has held Banned Books events for many years as a way to show support for the “freedom to read.” There will also be a display of many of the books that have been challenged or banned at the level 3 entrance during the month of October. This year’s event is co-sponsored by the Tanner Humanities Center.

About the Speaker

Shannon Hale is the New York Times best-selling author of over 40 books for all ages, including multiple award winners “The Goose Girl,” “Book of a Thousand Days” and Newbery Honor recipient “Princess Academy.” One of her novels for the adult crowd, “Austenland,” was made into a movie starring Keri Russell. With Leuyen Pham, she created her best-selling graphic novel memoirs “Real Friends,” “Best Friends” and “Friends Forever,” and “Itty-Bitty Kitty-Corn” picture books. She co-writes books with her husband Dean Hale, like the Eisner-nominated graphic novel “Rapunzel’s Revenge,” books for DC Comics about young Wonder Woman, and the best-selling chapter book series “The Princess in Black.”

Top 13 Banned Books of 2022

About Banned Books Week

The American Library Association (ALA) describes Banned Book Week as an event that “celebrates the freedom to read and spotlights current and historical attempts to censor books in libraries and schools. For more than 40 years, the annual event has brought together the entire book community—librarians, teachers, booksellers, publishers, writers, journalists and readers of all types—in shared support of the freedom to seek and express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.” The Marriott Library has held Banned Books events for many years to illustrate the importance of “freedom to read” in a free and open society.