The Arkansas Literary Festival will celebrate Banned Books Week with an interview reenactment, a film, and a writing contest. A program based on Alice Walker’s Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award-winning novel, The Color Purple, will be presented on Wednesday, September 30, at 6:30 p.m. at the Ron Robinson Theater, 100 River Market Ave. After the presentation, the 1985 film will be shown. The event is free and open to the public.
Actresses Verda Davenport Booher and Vivian Norman will reenact part of an interview with Alice Walker. The interview touches on Walker’s inspiration for the book and on the success it has had, as well as the film and the musical.
Written as a series of letters, the 1982 novel been challenged repeatedly because of language, sexuality, and violence. The film was directed by Steven Spielberg and nominated for eleven Academy Awards. A successful musical based upon the book opened on Broadway in 2005, and was nominated for ten Tony awards. Oprah Winfrey, nominated for an Oscar as best supporting actress in the film, was one of the producers of the musical. A pared-down revival of the musical is slated to open on Broadway in December, 2015.
Banned Books Week (September 27−October 3, 2015) is an annual event sponsored by the American Library Association celebrating the freedom to read. It highlights the value of free and open access to information and the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular. 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 and books that have been targeted with removal or restrictions in libraries and schools. While books have been and continue to be banned, part of the Banned Books Week celebration is the fact that, in a majority of cases, the books have remained available. This happens only thanks to the efforts of librarians, teachers, students, and community members who stand up and speak out for the freedom to read.
The Festival’s celebration of Banned Books Week is sponsored by the Fred K. Darragh Foundation. This is the Festival’s fifth annual Banned Books Week presentation. Other titles that have been featured include The Catcher in the Rye, Lord of the Flies, The Great Gatsby, A Clockwork Orange, A Doll’s House, and The Perks of Being a Wallflower.
The Arkansas Literary Festival is a program of the Central Arkansas Library System (CALS). For more information about the 2016 Arkansas Literary Festival, visit ArkansasLiteraryFestival.org, or contact Brad Mooy at 918-3098. For information on volunteering at the Festival, contact Angela Delaney at 918-3095.