Flanagan joins compatriots Thomas Keneally and Peter Carey as the third Australian winner of arguably the world’s most prestigious literary award. Peter Carey, South African born Adelaide resident J.M. Coetzee and Hilary Mantel share the distinction of being the only novelists to have won the award twice. Mantel stands alone as the only author to have won Bookers with consecutive novels, Wolf Hall and Bring up the Bodies.
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“[I]t’s not just the books under fire now that worry me. It is the books that will never be written. The books that will never be read. And all due to the fear of censorship. As always, young readers will be the real losers.” ― Judy Blume
This week is Banned Books Week. Initiated by the American Library Association, it is a chance to celebrate the freedom to read each September by drawing attention to the issue of censorship. Many public and school libraries in the US (and elsewhere) champion the vast range of literature that has been banned and/or challenged by over-eager legislators and officials.
The situation in Australia has thankfully been much more liberal with many fewer instances of this kind of attempted thought control. The last literary work to be actually banned in Australia was American Psycho, by Brett Easton Ellis way back in 1990. It is only available to over 18s in most states and still effectively banned in Queensland. Click on the links below for a story about the history of Literary Censorship in Australia and elsewhere.
In the U.S. Banned Books Week is the national book community’s annual celebration of the freedom to read. Hundreds of libraries and bookstores around the country draw attention to the problem of censorship by mounting displays of challenged books and hosting a variety of events. The 2014 celebration will be held September 21-27.
Banned Books Week was launched in 1982 in response to a sudden surge in the number of challenges to books in schools, bookstores and libraries. More than 11,300 books have been challenged since 1982 according to the American Library Association. There were 307 challenges reported to the Office of Intellectual Freedom in 2013, and many more go unreported. The 10 most challenged titles of 2013 were:
Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey
Reasons: Offensive language, unsuited for age group, violence
The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison
Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, violence
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, offensive language, racism, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
Fifty Shades of Grey, by E.L. James
Reasons: Nudity, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins
Reasons: Religious viewpoint, unsuited to age group
A Bad Boy Can Be Good for A Girl, by Tanya Lee Stone
Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit
Looking for Alaska, by John Green
Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
Reasons: drugs/alcohol/smoking, homosexuality, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
Bless Me Ultima, by Rudolfo Anaya
Reasons: Occult/Satanism, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit
Bone (series), by Jeff Smith
Reasons: Political viewpoint, racism, violence
For more information on Banned Books Week, click here.
For some excellent quotes about Censorship click on the links below:
He has also written The Worst Team Ever, Born to Bake, and A Chook Called Harry in the Aussie Bites series, and Jetty Rats, and has written an adult detective thriller The Build Up,The Debt series, and most recently, the young adult novel Swerve, which was shortlisted for many awards amongst them the 2010 Prime Minister’s Award and the Golden Inky.
Phillip presented four excellent large group talks to students ranging from Years 6-11. It was fantastic to see our students so engaged, listening to a successful writer speak about their work. We are indeed fortunate to be able to offer visits like this to our students and it is such a great way to help us all celebrate Book Week for 2014.
Phillip with Mrs Mills, Ms Sanderson Brewster and Mr Bull. Photo by Spencer, Year 9
Phillip is best know for Young Adult novels, first making his mark with the hugely popular and critically acclaimed Deadly Unnain 1998. Since then Phillip’s books have all received both high acclaim and popularity amongst readers, and he has penned works for all ages. He continues to write young adult novels (Swerve being the most recent), and his adult thriller The Build Up led to an epic thriller series for upper primary students: The Debt. Phillip now has a legion of young fans too, with picture books Yobbos Do Yoga, What’s Wrong Wobbegong? and more.
Phillip Gwynne’s first novel Deadly Unna? was the literary hit of 1998 winning Children’s Book of the Year and selling over 200,000 copies. It was made into the feature film Australian Rulesfor which Phillip’s screenplay won an AFI award in 2002.
Colombia’s most revered writer Gabriel García Marquez died in his adopted home of Mexico last month. Renowned the world over for his writing; short stories, screenplays, journalism and literary fiction. He was seen by many as the Godfather of the literary style Magical Realism. He published consistently often returning to the same themes in a way that garnered him considerable commercial and vast critical success. He was perhaps the most successful Spanish Language writer since Cervantes. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1982. Read Marquez’s Nobel lecture in full here.
It’s heartening to discover that topping the list of the bestselling books across all genres and age ranges including fiction and non-fiction last year was the 8th installment in Jeff Kinney’s middle school saga Diary of A Wimpy Kid, Hard Luck. Selling almost 2 million copies in hardback, this heavily illustrated children’s novel outsold Dan Brown, Stephen King, F. Scott Fitzgerald and even Fifty Shades of Grey author E.L. James.
As is so often the case forthcoming or newly released film adaptations helped spur interest and ultimately sales in both recent novels like Kinney’s as well as old chestnuts such as Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby.
Richard will visit Cabra College on Thursday 14th November. Signed copies of his books will be available for purchase at a mere $15. Please see Mr Bull in the Senior Library or Miss SB in the Middle School Library for details.
This week’s Website of the Week is Biblioklept. The word literally means “Book Thief” and it is a blog dedicated to discovering and sharing great things from books, art, film and culture generally. The site has been going since 2006 and is run by Edwin Turner.