Thursday Book Beat: Banned Book Week, Giller Prize, and Bisexual Day!

Happy Thursday book lovers! Currently typing this as my dog sits beside me while passive aggressively pawing my keyboard. She’s like her mom that way. Unfortunately, I was sick this past weekend and I couldn’t make it down to the Word on the Street book and magazine festival in Toronto. I heard it was great and hope some of you readers made it! You can read this article that includes highlights from this year’s event. Also, I finished Nutshell by Ian McEwan and whoa, cannot stress how creative and entertaining this book is. Next on my list is Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen and Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly. What’s on yours?

Banned Books Week Advert from ALA
Banned Books Week Advert from ALA

Did you know it’s Banned Books Week? This annual celebration sponsored by the American Libraries Association and several other organizations is done to celebrate the right to read. This mostly American event, although also celebrated in the UK, also challenges us to question why certain books are banned. Statistics show that more than half of all banned books include diverse characters, whether racially diverse, LGBTQ+, religiously diverse, disabled, or representing some other form of diversity. Transgender teenager Jazz Jenning’s book made the 2016 list of banned books. Makes you wonder, right? I’m currently taking a sociology course in university called “Images of Inequality in Media”, and it has opened my eyes to the way in which media and literature is complicit in upholding and protecting the dominant, privileged discourses. So I urge you to exercise your first amendment right and pick up a banned book! You can check out the books banned in 2016 here.

It’s literary award season and the shortlist for the Canadian Scotiabank Giller Prize award was announced Monday. Madeleine Thien, whose book Do Not Say We Have Nothing has already landed on the prestigious Booker shortlist, can now add this nomination to her growing list. Emma Donoghue is on the list as well for The Wonder (in the middle of it now, so good). The jury includes Lawrence Hill and Kathleen Winters, two celebrated Canadian authors. Last year, Andre Alexis won for Fifteen DogsWhile this prize may be a Canadian prize, authors usually see a great increase in book sales. You can check out the other nominees and read more here. In other literary award news, the newer Goldsmith Prize has announced it’s 2016 shortlist. This prize was created in 2013 in London to celebrate the kind of fiction that is creative, daring and “breaks the mould”. You can read about this year’s nominees here.

September 23rd marked Bi-Visibility Day or Bisexual Pride Day. I often find that identifying as bisexual is often met with backlash, laughter, and confusion. A lot of people cannot comprehend bisexuality and chock it down to exploration. This is extremely sad for many reasons and it also results in less representation in media and books especially. So this week I wanted to highlight some books that do honour this valid sexual identity. Here is a great list of YA books that do not participate in bi-erasure.

So I hope you’re celebrating and reading and are as excited to see who wins these awards as I am!


Ashley Ash

Ashley Ash

Ashley is a proud Torontonian, third year social worker student, full time child advocate and national award winning writer. She will defend Anakin Skywalker and Jon Snow till she dies.

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