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PEN America Report Details the Dangers of Book Backlashes
PEN America announced the following:
In a new report, Booklash: Literary Freedom, Online Outrage, and the Language of Harm, PEN America warns that social media blowback and societal outrage are imposing new moral litmus tests on books and authors, chilling literary expression and fueling a dangerous trend of self-censorship that is shrinking writers’ creative freedom and imagination. …
The report argues that book withdrawals in the face of criticism—though relatively rare—have ripple effects, shrinking the space for risk-taking in literature and circumscribing what future books will be proposed and signed. …
In addition, the report rejects ‘an identity-essentialist approach to literature: that writers can only responsibly tell the stories that relate to their own identity and experiences.’ …
Drawing from months of research and dozens of conversations in the literary and publishing community–including with authors whose book contracts were canceled and editors who responded to calls to withdraw books from publication–the report includes in-depth accounts of many of the most contentious literary controversies over the past eight years.
For more information, read the press release.
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