This week is Banned Books Week, an annual celebration of the freedom to read and a fantastic opportunity to draw attention to the censorship of literature. Right now in small towns across the US a battle is being fought between the American Library Association and outraged parents over the availability of “offensive” books.  

In the past decade there have been 4,660 attempts made to remove books from schools, libraries and national curriculums, and the list of the ten most challenged books in the last decade includes classics such as The Catcher in the Rye, The Color Purple and To Kill A Mockingbird. Perhaps more surprising is the appearance of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World in the top three most challenged books in 2010.

In the last few months, the censorship of books has been a hot topic, Meghan Cox Gurdon’s recent Wall Street Journal article condemned Young Adult fiction as depraved and corrupting, which in turn sparked the twitter campaign #YAsaves in defence of the YA genre and a deluge of articles in the press debating the censorship of children’s and young adult’s books.

Which leads me to wonder, as a writer do you have a responsibility to your audience? In my opinion, authors do have a responsibility and that is to tell a story honestly. If the story is challenging, it’s the writer’s responsibility to tell it truthfully and inspirationally. Be true to your characters and to the story and a difficult subject will be moving, rousing and responsible.

What responsibilities do you think writers have to their audience? Do you think writers should censor their writing?

For more information on Banned Books Week and the books that have been deemed “offensive” visit: http://www.ala.org/ala/issuesadvocacy/banned/index.cfm