39th Annual Banned Books Week

The end of this month marks the 39th annual Banned Books Week, a celebration of the freedom to read, to express and exchange ideas. Perhaps it goes without saying that absent such liberties, there would be no Los Angeles Review of Books. But while books of all stripes keep us occupied here at LARB, its their shared capacity to challenge systems, shape thought, and recast worlds that often preoccupies us. As the interviews, essays, and conversations assembled here demonstrate, that capacity might be met with fear, wonder, rejection, or adulation, but the transformative power of open discourse and the freedom to read and write is undeniable — and we, at least, believe it very much worth celebrating! 

LARB invites you to join us in observing Banned Books Week, September 27–October 3, 2020, by…

Reading! We’ve assembled a collection of fantastic essays from the LARB archive covering issues of literary censorship and political repression in our brand new Banned Books Reader. Donate $1 or more or become a member to receive your copy in your inbox today.

Listening to our recent LARB Radio Hour interviews with Chinese author Yan Lianke about his career and experience of writing for and about a nation barred from reading his work and with novelist and activist Arundhati Roy about her new collection of essays on fascism. 

Supporting the work of pioneering thinkers like Jody Armour, Brad Evans, Henry Giroux, and Yxta Maya Murray tackling the difficult issues of our time in the LARB Books Provocations series, backlist bundle on sale now with the promo code BannedBooks2020.

Following our Reckless Reader independent bookstore partners as they announce their picks for favorite Banned Books Week reads.

Thanks to all who joined us on Wednesday, September 30 for a free virtual discussion with activist Samuel Chu, journalist Mary Kay Magistad, historian Jeff Wasserstrom, and Congresswoman Katie Porter about the ongoing Hong Kong protest movement and the implementation of the new National Security Law. To provide additional context, we’ve selected some essays about Hong Kong from the LARB archive below, along with a few selections from the Banned Books Reader. 

Becoming a member!

LARB is reader-supported and relies on your generosity to replenish our writers' and programs fund







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