(New York) An unburnable edition of Margaret Atwood’s famous work, the scarlet maidenIt was auctioned off in support of the fight against censorship in the United States, a growing phenomenon, its publisher and Sotheby’s auction house announced Tuesday.
Posted at 10:33 am
The announcement of the operation, which came before the massacre that killed 21 people, including 19 children at a Texas school on Tuesday, is accompanied by a video where the 82-year-old Canadian author, a fervent defender of freedom of expression , seems to spray his book with a flamethrower without managing to burn it.
On sale online through June 7, this particular edition, made of fire-resistant paper, had five bids on Tuesday, the highest at $45,000. The proceeds will be donated to the organization PEN America, which supports endangered authors and artists around the world and fights against censorship, Sotheby’s and publisher Penguin Random House said.
In a recent index covering the period from July 2021 to March 2022, PEN America documented 1,586 censorship cases affecting 1,145 titles in 86 school districts in 26 states, initiated by elected school boards or local authorities.
This phenomenon of banned books (prohibited books) is old in the United States, but for its part, the American Library Association (ALA) has identified 729 procedures to challenge the presence of books in libraries, schools and universities in 2021, which represents 1,597 titles, a record in more than 20 years.
“In 2021, libraries found themselves in the middle of a culture war, with conservative groups waging a historic fight to ban and challenge books dealing with racism, gender, politics, and sexual identity,” the ALA report said in presenting these figures in an annual report.
The Most Banned Book award went to 2021 for Gender Queer, where author Maia Kobabe recounts her journey towards a non-binary identity.
the scarlet maiden (1985), a science fiction novel describing a totalitarian regime in which women are enslaved, is a work often attacked.
In January, the graphic novel of the Holocaust Mausby the cartoonist Art Spiegelman, a work of worldwide success, had also been banned by a school board in Tennessee, in the conservative South of the United States, for considering its content “inappropriate”.