BookTalk, Inc. and University of Massachusetts Boston Partner for Banned Book Fair
Social-impact nonprofit empowers university students to create change.
BOSTON, MA – April 14, 2022 — BookTalk, Inc., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit on a mission to highlight the importance of equitable representation in storytelling, has joined the University of Massachusetts Boston Honors College to host a Banned Book Fair on April 28, 2022, from 1:30 - 3:30 p.m.
PEN America, a nonprofit that advocates for freedom of expression, found there have been 1,586 book bans in schools over the past nine months. The bans targeted 1,145 unique books by more than 800 authors, and a plurality of the books — 41 percent — featured prominent characters who are people of color. Thirty-three percent of the banned books, meanwhile, included LGBTQ themes, protagonists or strong secondary characters, and 22 percent addressed issues of race and racism.
Many of these removals target marginalized authors of diverse backgrounds. Hood Feminism by Mikki Kendall, Grown by Tiffany Jackson and Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas are a few of the banned books that will be featured at University of Massachusetts Boston Banned Book Fair 2022.
Sami Sanghvi, Honors Ambassador at the University of Massachusetts Boston and Vice President of Events at BookTalk, Inc. organized the event to bring diverse voices in literature to the forefront.
"Most people don’t realize that books are actively being banned across the country. Our goal is to bring awareness about how and why this is happening. Most of the books being banned today are books that are focused on queer, Black, foreign, disabled, etc. stories. Being the third most diverse university in the United States, I want my peers at the University of Massachusetts Boston to read stories that represent them and to know that our voices can’t be silenced,” said Sanghvi. “The BookTalk team has worked with many authors whose books are being banned and challenged. A few of these authors were at our inaugural conference in 2021. BookTalk will always stand by authors who are being wrongfully challenged/banned.”
To impact the book community positively and create social change, BookTalk has allowed students who attend the book fair to browse the books on display and pick one of their choosing - free of charge. There will also be other items that promote awareness of marginalized authors whose voices have been suppressed to the malignant practice of book banning.
Founded for book lovers by book lovers in March of 2021, BookTalk, Inc. is a volunteer, social-impact nonprofit on a mission to connect with authors, publishers, and other creatives in the book industry to inspire critical approaches to reading and uplift marginalized voices to highlight the importance of equitable representation in storytelling. The inaugural free and virtual BookTalk Event held in July of 2021 sold out of its 2.5k available seats and received over 2.5k sponsorship impressions. The BookTalk staff is made up of nearly 40 passionate book lovers working to bring other readers and authors closer together virtually. This year’s BookTalk Event will be held from July 15-17 and July 22-24.