Thursday, October 14, 2010

Andrea Cremer Speaks Out


Andrea Cremer has always loved writing but just recently began writing professionally. She also teaches history at a Liberal Arts college in St. Paul, MN where she currently live. Her debut novel, Nightshade will be published in fall 2010 by Penguin.

1. What is your opinion on book censorship?

I'm firmly against book censorship. Censorship is the result of fear. It prohibits the sharing of ideas that help us when we encounter life's challenges.

2. What would you do if Nightshade was banned/challenged?

Talk about it. Two of my favorite authors, Laurie Halse Anderson and Ellen Hopkins, have been my role models for speaking out against book banning. They are eloquent, insightful, and dead on when it comes to what society loses when books are challenged.

3. Do you think that there may be a possibility of Nightshade being banned?

I had my first experience of having my book challenged just two days ago. I had the privilege of visiting several schools as part of a pre-publication event and a parent objected to my being there because of "inappropriate content" in my book. I was even taken to the principal's office - the first time in my life and I'm 32! Fortunately my presentations went off without a hitch. The students were absolutely fantastic and they reminded me of why I love writing so much. It made the unpleasantness of that parent's complaint simply melt away.

4. What are some of your favorite banned books and why?

There are too many to list and that's because so many books are challenged. One of the most challenged books of the last decade is Harry Potter, which I find so sad because that series made so many people - adults and children alike - fall in love with reading. I already mentioned Laurie Halse Anderson and Ellen Hopkins. I also love Kurt Vonnegut and his books are challenged all the time. Almost any book that deals with LBGT content encounters a challenge and that's a sad reflection on the continued level of ignorance and intolerance that plagues our society. As a historian of gender and sexuality I'm particularly opposed to objections to content related to sexuality. Books offer a safe space for readers to encounter these issues and I wish that parents would use the content to start conversations with their children rather than trying to pull books from library shelves.

Huge thanks to Andrea for doing this for me! Let her know what you think in the comments and I'll email them to her.

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