Over the month of September, PEN invited authors and poets from the literary community to write essays on banned books. Staying true to the spirit of Banned Books Week, we placed no restrictions on the contributions other than a word count (which people broke anyway) and a deadline (which most people met.) PEN staff members were encouraged to write as well, and each of the 18 essays that we received was illuminating and educational. Poets wrote about novels and novelists wrote about poetry.
We also featured an “insider”: children’s book author Robie Harris highlighted some of the challenges of being the writer of a banned book. “So why do I keep on writing even though some of my books have been banned?” Harris wrote. “My answer is that children, even our very young children, do not live in bubbles. They live in the real world. They observe, think, wonder, and question—just as all of us do.”