Kurt Vonnegut Museum & Library Celebrates ALA’s Banned Books Week

September 16, 2020

For Immediate Release

Indianapolis — ​The Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library (KVML) will once again celebrate the American Library Association’s Banned Books Week​ September 27 – October 23. This year’s planned events will include virtual events and an in-person, outdoor fundraiser at KVML’s new “forever home” located downtown on the historic Indiana Avenue.

Banned Books Week​ is the annual national celebration of the freedom to read, which raises awareness about censorship and freedom of expression and each year KVML dedicates a week of activities to enlighten, entertain, and educate. As a main programming element, an artist, educator, or other passionate visitor is invited to become the Banned Books Week activist to live in the museum behind a wall of real banned books in protest of the infringement of the right to free expression. This year’s theme is Civic Engagement, and we are honored to have Indianapolis poet Manon Voice as “activist in residence” to engage with our Banned Books Week visitors. Planned events include:

Securing the Vote: Women’s Suffrage in Indiana

Sunday, September 27, 2:00 p.m.

$12-$15 (or week pass)

An Indiana Historical Society mobile exhibit tour and virtual presentation will be led by New York Times Writer Sarah Bahr with an introduction by KVML Exhibition Designer Molly Reynowsky. The event features a dialogue with Indianapolis Business Journal Managing Editor Leslie Weidenbener on women and civic engagement.

Free Speech in the Cancel Culture

Monday, September 28, 6:00 p.m.

$12-$15 (or week pass)

Emcee Una Osili leads presenters Poet Manon Voice, Professor James H. Madison, Mayor Joe Hogsett, and others as they share their thoughts on communicating in society these days and offer a passage from their favorite banned book. 

A History of Protesting for Change

Tuesday, September 29, 6:00 p.m.

$12-$15 (or week pass)

Judy Thomas will lead a History of Protesting for Change: Reading and discussion with “Abbie Hoffman” biographer Dan Simon, poet Manon Voice, and IUPUI Professor of Education Dr. Lasana Kazembe.

Radical Reading Circle

Wednesday, September 30, 6:00 p.m.

$12-$15 (or week pass)

Radical Reading Circle with IUPUI Professor of Education Dr. Lasana Kazembe, will feature the work of James Baldwin to introduce this ongoing program.

KVML Banned Books Week Fundraiser

with Phoenix Theatre

Thursday, October 1, 6:00 p.m.

This safe, in-person event features readings from Kurt Vonnegut: WordPlay, a new original play by David Hoppe featuring Manon Voice and presentations by Terrian Barnes and Tom Crosby. Tickets for members start at $100 and includes a week pass for the rest of Banned Books Week virtual events.

Virtual reading and interview with Ryan North

Friday, October 2, 6:00 p.m.

$12-$15 (or week pass)

Join Debra DesVignes as she introduces Sierra Hahn, editor at Boom Studios, who will conduct a virtual reading and interview with Ryan North, adaptor of Slaughterhouse-Five graphic novel, and illustrator Albert Monteys.

So It Goes literary journal release

Saturday, October 3: 11:00 a.m. – 12:00p.m.

Free/virtual

Join KVML’s Founder and CEO Julia Whitehead who will unveil KVML’s annual literary journal So It Goes with contributors and artists reading and showing their work. From 12:00 p.m.- 3:00 p.m., KVML Education Coordinator Nick Willy welcomes you to the Youth Writing Program workshops including Writing for Graphic Novels with Ryan North, Writing for Change with Dr. Lasana Kazembe, and Writing for Fun with John David Anderson.

KVML plans on being open during the daytime the week of Banned Books Week so visitors will be able to see the exhibits and interact with their “activist in resident” Voice. Visitors will need to purchase their timed admission ticket online for specific days as there will be capacity restrictions due to COVID-19 compliance. Hours for the museum:

Sunday – Thursday          10 a.m. – 6 p.m. (Sunday is the final day for Women’s Suffrage Exhibit

Friday                                    10 a.m. – 8 p.m. (includes First Friday Open House)

Saturday                              10 a.m. – 6 p.m. (free admission)

 “This year will be special and unique for so many reasons as this is our first Banned Books Week since opening in our new home all while we’re trying to survive and navigate through a global pandemic,” says KVML Founder and CEO Julia Whitehead. “Our events will be accessible virtually, and our hope is to integrate in-person events and opportunities in a safe, meaningful way. In the midst of all this, the real goal is to bring awareness to literary censorship and celebrate important works that resonate with us personally and culturally.”

Week passes are available starting at $30 for members ($45 for non-members) for virtual access to programming all week long.  Week passes are not applicable to the Thursday, Oct. 1 evening event.  To purchase tickets to the planned events or for more information on these events, visit vonnegutlibrary.org.

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About Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library

Renowned author Kurt Vonnegut took an unflinching look at the world, tempered with a satirical eye and sardonic sense of humor. In honor of his wit and wisdom, the Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library champions the literary, artistic, and cultural contributions of the late writer, artist, teacher, and Indianapolis native Kurt Vonnegut. The library and museum serve as a cultural and educational resource unique to the nation. In November 2019, KVML moved to its “forever home” located on the historic Indiana Avenue in a 10,000 square foot building built in 1882.

About ALAs Banned Books Week

Banned Books Week (September 27 – October 3, 2020) is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. Typically held during the last week of September, it spotlights current and historical attempts to censor books in libraries and schools. It brings together the entire book community — librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types — in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.

The books featured during Banned Books Week have all been targeted for removal or restriction in libraries and schools. By focusing on efforts across the country to remove or restrict access to books, Banned Books Week draws national attention to the harms of censorship. For additional information about American Library Association’s Banned Books week visit ala.org/advocacy/bbooks/banned.

About Manon Voice

Manon Voice is a native of Indianapolis, Indiana and is a poet and writer, spoken word artist, hip-hop emcee, educator, social justice advocate and practicing contemplative. She has performed on diverse stages across the country in the power of word and song and has taught and facilitated art and poetry workshops widely, working with organizations such as Women Writing for (a) Change, Arts for Learning Indiana, Notre Dame Americorps, Regeneration Indy, Indiana’s WomIN’s Festival, Indiana Writers Center and Purdue University. She has been a featured poet and performer in noteworthy Indianapolis productions such as “The Wake”, “Village Voices Notes from a Griot” and “Nina High Priestess of Soul” with the Phoenix Rising Dance Company. Manon Voice has performed alongside Broadway singer and actress, Jennifer Holliday for Brothers United World AIDS Day, Indiana Poet Laureate Adrian Matejka, Artist and Songstress, Opal Staples, International Poet, and Philosopher, David Whyte, and has opened for acts such as WNBA Championship basketball player Tamika Catchings and Judge Joe Mathis.

For additional assistance: Samantha Cross; [email protected]

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