The Authors Guild has teamed with the book club app Fable to launch the virtual Banned Books Club. As the name suggests, the new club is being started in response to the surge in book-banning efforts across the country.
“Our goal is to give both students and adults the opportunity 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,” Guild CEO Mary Rasenberger said in a statement. “We hope this will spark discussions across the country about the value of a diverse body of literature and the harm book banning causes by ‘erasing’ the unique experiences and perspectives of marginalized voices.”
The first selection of the club is David Levithan’s Two Boys Kissing, a YA novel about two 17-year-old boys who decide to participate in a 32-hour kissing marathon to set a new Guinness World Record. The novel ranks #18 on the American Library Association’s Top 100 Most Banned and Challenged Books of the past decade. Levithan said he believes the Banned Books Club “will 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.”
Levithan, like other authors whose books will be featured in the monthly club, will provide original online commentary about how best to approach the book, what motivated them to write it, and/or point out literary devices they used to help illuminate the narrative, character development or theme, the Guild said. Some authors will also lead a live discussion of the book and answer questions from participating club members.
To participate, readers can log on to Fable anytime during the month a new title has been selection to access the book and discussion. Fable will be promoting the club to its members and Padmasree Warrior, founder and CEO of Fable, said the company was glad to work with the Guild to fight the increase in book banning.
Other authors who have agreed to participate include Kiese Laymon (Heavy); Maia Kobabe (Gender Queer); Jonathan Evison (Lawn Boy); Heidi Durrow (The Girl Who Fell from the Sky); Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely (All American Boys); Ashley Hope Perez (Out of Darkness); and Jacqueline Woodson (Red at the Bone).
The book club is being support by a grant from Hachette Book Group.