Writer Penguin Random Home has launched a brand new writing award within the US celebrating freedom of expression in response to an increase in guide bans throughout the nation.
The Freedom of Expression award invitations candidates to put in writing about one banned guide that modified their life and why. The $10,000 (£8,168) prize will probably be awarded to a high-school pupil planning to attend college in 2024.
“Within the midst of censorship efforts, it’s essential that we defend and rejoice freedom of expression, particularly for younger individuals whose voices we want and need to raise up now greater than ever,” mentioned Claire von Schilling, director of company communications and social duty at Penguin Random Home.
E-book bans in US public faculties elevated by 33% over the past faculty 12 months in response to a September report by Pen America. It discovered that the authors whose books have been focused have been most ceaselessly ladies, individuals of color and LGBTQ+ people.
A number of the books banned in additional than 20 districts embody The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison, A Court docket of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas, Gender Queer: A Memoir by Maia Kobabe and The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. This report adopted an American Library Affiliation research which discovered that makes an attempt to censor supplies in class, tutorial and public libraries reached a file excessive within the first eight months of 2023.
“This 12 months it’s of explicit significance that we honour various younger voices. As guide bans proliferate throughout the nation, we rejoice the facility and significance of the written phrase,” mentioned Caroline Richmond, govt director of We Want Various Books, a non-profit that’s partnering with Penguin Random Home on the award. “College students in the present day need to be heard. With this award we rejoice and amplify their views.”
On the competition webpage, the writer said that books “by and/or about LGBTQIA+ and BIPOC communities” are being “disproportionately focused” by new legal guidelines and rules limiting the sorts of books younger individuals have entry to. “Books change lives” and “everybody deserves to see themselves in a guide”, it added.
The award is run alongside 4 different prizes – for memoir, poetry, fiction/drama and spoken phrase – within the writer’s Artistic Writing awards, every with a $10,000 (£8,168) prize. The winners may even obtain ongoing mentorship alternatives. The competitors opened on 16 October and can shut on 16 January, or when 1,000 functions have been submitted.