(New York, NY) – After an Alaska school board moved to ban a number of books from high school classes, city residents and leaders have mounted a campaign to bring the banned works into the public spotlight. PEN America’s senior director of free expression programs Summer Lopez said the following:

“Banning books from schools based on ‘controversial’ content rather misses the point of both education and literature. We read the writings of Ralph Ellison, Joseph Heller, Maya Angelou, and others precisely to challenge our assumptions, open our minds, and process the complexities of our society. In an educational context, there is no reason such books cannot be taught in age-appropriate ways. Such attempts at censorship are misguided, and we call on the Matanuska-Susitna Borough School Board to reverse this unwarranted decision. It is somewhat comforting, however, that in the community response bringing the banned works to the public, we are seeing one of the cardinal lessons of censorship play out here: that there is no quicker way to draw greater attention and support to whatever it is you are trying to shut down.”


PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect open expression in the United States and worldwide. We champion the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Our mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible.

CONTACT: Stephen Fee, Director of Communications, [email protected], +1 202 309 8892