Banned Books Week begins tomorrow and runs through Sunday, bringing focus to the censorship of books throughout America. The event began in 1982 in response to a sudden surge in the number of challenges to books in schools, bookstores and libraries. You might remember in the 1984 film, “Footloose,” a group of citizens burning books in front of the library.
If you think things have cooled off, think again. Since 1982, more than 11,300 books have been challenged, according to the American Library Association, and 307 challenges happened in 2013. Some of the most challenged titles that year included “Captain Underpants,” “The Bluest Eye” by Toni Morison and “The Hunger Games.”
Banned Books Week is sponsored by the American Library Association, the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, the American Society of Journalists and Authors, the Association of American Publishers, the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, the National Association of College Stores, the National Coalition Against Censorship, the National Council of Teachers of English, PEN American Center and Project Censored.
At 3 p.m. Wednesday, the University of Louisiana-Lafayette Dupré Library will host its third annual Banned Book Read Out in celebration of Banned Books Week. Students, faculty and community members are invited to read a passage from one of their favorite banned or challenged books outside the Ernest Gaines Center on the third floor of the library. The event is free and open to the public.
Warren A. Perrin and Mary Broussard are launching “Acadie Then and Now: A People’s History,” a collection of 65 articles by 55 authors that showcase Acadians from around the world, at 11 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 28, at Vermilionville in Lafayette. The book focuses on the Acadian communities in the United States, France and Canada. All profits from the book will be donated to 22 Acadian museums located in three countries. The book was also co-directed by Phil Comeau, an award-winning filmmaker and author living in Montreal. Prior to his death, Cajun artist George Rodrigue gave permission to use his painting, “Spinning Cotton in Erath (1977),” for the book’s cover. Contributors to the book include Louisiana singer, songwriter, poet and activist Zachary Richard; Cajun folklorist, author and UL-Lafayette professor Dr. Barry Jean Ancelet; Acadian poet, playwright and professor Dr. Herménégilde Chiqsson; and activist and journalist Jean-Marie Nadeau, who catalyzed the inaugural Congrès mondial acadien.
Acadiana Writing Project Teacher Consultant and Iberia Parish teacher Margaret Simon has been named the recipient of the National Council of Teachers of English’s 2014 Donald H. Graves award for excellence in teaching writing. Simon will receive the award at NCTE’s annual national meeting in November.
William Faulkner’s birthday is Thursday, but it falls in the middle of the Jewish high holidays so the Pirate’s Alley Faulkner Society will celebrate the novelist’s birthday at 1 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 28, at 818 St. Charles Ave. in New Orleans. Also, because of the Saints game, the event will include a festive brunch instead of a summer supper, not to mention the fun starts after church services, since it’s a Sunday. Talk about being inclusive! Net proceeds from the event will go to support the non-profit Faulkner Society. For more information, visit http://www.wordsandmusic.org.
Michael Marshall will discuss his book “Gallant Creoles: A History of the Donaldsonville Canonniers” at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Jeanerette Museum, 500 E. Main St. in Jeanerette. Composed of Creole and Cajun citizen-soldiers, the Donaldsonville Canonniers were originally organized as a militia company in 1837 and were one of the most active and highly regarded Louisiana units during the American Civil War. The event is more suitable for an adult audience.
For information, visit JeaneretteMuseum.com.
A film series honoring Ernest Gaines will be held at 6:30 p.m. Wednesdays at the South Regional Library in Lafayette; this week “A Lesson Before Dying” will be shown. Visit ernestgaines.louisiana.edu or facebook.com/ErnestGainesCenter for more information.
Michael Rubin will be speaking and signing “The Cottoncrest Curse” from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday at the Old Governor's Mansion, 502 North Blvd. in Baton Rouge. Light refreshments will be served at 6 p.m. at the event presented by the Foundation for Historical Louisiana. For more information, visit www.fhl.org.
Delphine Hirasuna will sign “The Art of Gaman” from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday at the World War II Museum in New Orleans. She will offer a presentation at 6 p.m. at the Stage Door Canteen, following by the signing. During World War II, the 120,000 Japanese Americans living on the West Coast were ordered into barbed-wire enclosed internment camps, allowed to bring only what they could carry. “The Art of Gaman” relates how the internees practiced the discipline of gaman enduring the seemingly impossible with patience and dignity by creating objects of beauty and utility out of scrap and found materials. For information, call (504) 528-1944.
The DwnTown Poetry Krewe will offer an open mic and variety show at 2 p.m. Saturday at 101 Jefferson St., Suite 100, in downtown Lafayette. Poets, musicians, and people of other talents are invited.
Bad Art Fête, which celebrates the ugly side of art, is ongoing through September at the Lafayette Library. Original art may be submitted (one entry per person) through Oct. 10. Voters will determine the best during voting at ArtWalk from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Oct. 11.
Dennis Ward will read excerpts from his debut novel, “Mademoiselle Gigi” and Bonnie Friedman will screen her documentary “Operation Sussex” at 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 28, at NUNU Arts and Culture Collective in Arnaudville. For more information on Operation Sussex, visit alliance-productions.net.
Cheré Coen is the author of “Forest Hill, Louisiana: A Bloom Town History,” “Haunted Lafayette, Louisiana” and “Exploring Cajun Country: A Historic Guide to Acadiana” and co-author of “Magic’s in the Bag: Creating Spellbinding Gris Gris Bags and Sachets.” Write her at email@example.com.