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‘Junk’ author helps Islington libraries celebrate ‘Banned Books’ week

Best-selling author Melvin Burgess joined Islington Council, the Free Word Centre, and the British Library to celebrate ‘Banned Books Week’ and highlight some of the current threats of censorship to creativity and literary works.
It is the first time the three organisations have collaborated together to promote the week – originally set up by the American Library Association in 1982 in response to a growing number of challenges to books in schools, shops, and libraries in the USA.  
One of Burgess’s own books, ‘Junk’, which deals will heroin addiction and teenage sex, is on the list of 40 books that have all been subject to calls for censorship and will be actively promoted by Islington Council’s Library and Heritage Service during the week. 
Others include children’s classics such as Roald Dahl’s ‘Matilda’ and Philip Pullman’s ‘His Dark Materials’ trilogy, as well as Margaret Atwood’s the ‘Handmaid’s Tale’ and ‘Beloved’ by Toni Morrison. J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series is also on the list. 
The books will be promoted at local reading groups and book clubs across Islington and the country during September and October. They will also feature on the ‘Reading Groups for Everyone’ website:  
Five-times winner of the prestigious Carnegie Medal and winner of the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize, Burgess was joined by journalist and author Matthew Carr and Jo Glanville from English PEN at the British Library at a special event in which he discussed censorship and free speech.
Islington Council’s executive member for economic development, Cllr Asima Shaikh, said: “Islington – one-time home of George Orwell, with its rich history of radical thought, creative expression, and innovation – is the perfect place to celebrate ‘Banned Books Week’.
“I was astonished to see wonderful books like The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and The Kite Runner on the list, and I’m proud to be a part of this celebration.”
“Our libraries should be places that encourage the collision of ideas and the challenge of opinions and which open up, not close off, doors to new worlds of knowledge, experience, and adventure.”

For more information contact:

Chris Roe
Media Manager
020 7527 8751