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Building Bridges: A Conversation About Book Banning

Join moderator Allison Lee, Managing Director of PEN America Los Angeles for this town-hall conversation featuring authors of banned books, and learn more about what communities can do to combat a growing movement to silence voices and stifle important histories. Panelists include Elana K. Arnold, author of the Printz Honor winner Damsel among many other titles, and Dr. Eric Cervini, award-winning author, producer, and historian of LGBTQ+ politics.



Allison Lee serves as PEN America’s Los Angeles Director. She brings extensive development, community engagement, and communications experience to the organization. Most recently Allison was the Chief Development Officer for TIME’S UP, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting gender equity and ending sexual violence in the workplace. She has previously served as Vice President of External Affairs at Bet Tzedek Legal Services, where she worked to increase their annual revenue and helped to launch their Rapid Response Family Immigration Project and Transgender Advocacy Program. Prior to that, Allison served for eight years as the founding Executive Director of American Jewish World Service – Southern California. Allison received her B.A. in Political Science and American Studies from Tufts University.

Elana K. Arnold is the author of critically acclaimed and award-winning young adult novels and children’s books, including the Printz Honor winner Damsel, the National Book Award finalist What Girls Are Made Of, and Global Read Aloud selection A Boy Called Bat and its sequels. Several of her books are Junior Library Guild selections and have appeared on many best book lists, including the Amelia Bloomer Project, a catalog of feminist titles for young readers. Elana teaches in Hamline University’s MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults program and lives in Southern California with her family and menagerie of pets.

Dr. Eric Cervini is an award-winning author, producer, and historian of LGBTQ+ politics. His first book, The Deviant’s War: The Homosexual vs. the United States of America, was a NYT bestseller and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. It also won the Publishing Triangle’s Randy Shilts Award for Gay Nonfiction, the NYT Editors’ Choice, and the “Best Read of 2020” at the Queerties.