The Eleanor Roosevelt Center and the Fisher Center at Bard Partner to Present First-Ever Eleanor Roosevelt Banned Book Awards Ceremony, February 17
The 2024 Awards Will Be Conferred to Authors Focused on Racial Justice, LGBTQ+ Rights, and Gender Equality: Laurie Halse Anderson, Mike Curato, Alex Gino, George M. Johnson, Maia Kobabe, and Jelani Memory
Judy Blume Receives Inaugural Eleanor Roosevelt Lifetime Achievement Award for Bravery in Literature
As more books are being banned than ever before in US history, the Eleanor Roosevelt Center and the Fisher Center at Bard present the inaugural Eleanor Roosevelt Banned Book Awards ceremony on February 17 at the Fisher Center. The ceremony launches the Eleanor Roosevelt Award for Bravery in Literature, whose first-ever winners will be celebrated for championing intellectual freedom and the fight against censorship.
Each author receiving the honor—seven in total for the inaugural award—has created a vital work of literature that has experienced challenges and been banned by local municipalities, governments, or school boards. The awards for 2024 are given to authors whose works focus on racial justice, LGBTQ+ rights, and gender equality. Awardees include Laurie Halse Anderson for SHOUT, Mike Curato for Flamer, Alex Gino for Melissa (previously published as George), George M. Johnson for All Boys Aren’t Blue, Jelani Memory for A Kids Book About Racism, and Maia Kobabe for Gender Queer. (Maia Kobabe will receive the award virtually.) The award seal is designed by artist, author, and creative director George McCalman.
The Eleanor Roosevelt Award for Bravery in Literature follows on from three decades of the Eleanor Roosevelt Center honoring individuals who embrace her call to build a better world through humanitarian efforts in education, advocacy, social justice, and civil and human rights. Eleanor Roosevelt was a prolific writer, authoring hundreds of articles and essays and 28 books in her lifetime. She was passionate about supporting the role of libraries and the importance of access to information as an essential element of democracy. She tirelessly championed the creation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which has become the foundation of international human rights law. The rights in Article 19 on intellectual freedom are at the very heart of this award.
The Fisher Center at Bard has a long history of developing and supporting performance and cultural events at the intersection of the arts and social justice, producing innovative programming in the Hudson Valley, and supporting artists at critical career junctures. For Bard, this partnership builds on a multi-pronged approach to addressing the erosion of free expression across the globe and uplifting those who combat these disturbing trends.
Along with the recipients, legendary author Judy Blume will receive the first Eleanor Roosevelt Lifetime Achievement Award for Bravery In Literature, and will join for a virtual conversation. At the ceremony, the authors will be joined on stage by leaders in the field—Emily Drabinski, President of the American Library Association, and Matt Nosanchuck, Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Office for Civil Rights, US Department of Education, often referred to as the Biden Administration’s Banned Book Czar—providing insights from the front lines of the fight against banning books.
Numerous national and local Hudson Valley organizations are collaborating to present the Awards with the Eleanor Roosevelt Center and the Fisher Center, including, National Coalition Against Censorship, Freedom To Read Foundation, Penguin Random House, Mid-Hudson Library System, Oblong Books and The Hudson Valley LGBTQ+ Community Center. Additionally, Bard College’s Center for Civic Engagement, Center for Ethics and Writing, Community Arts Collective, Community Partner Gender Equity Initiative, and Office of the Dean of Inclusive Excellence, as well as the Stevenson Library, are joining in the collaboration.
The Eleanor Roosevelt Banned Book Awards take place Saturday, February 17 at 7:30 pm in the Sosnoff Theater at the Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College (Manor Ave, Annandale-On-Hudson, NY 12504). Tickets range from $25–65 and are $5 for students with a valid ID. Tickets can be purchased here. Copies of all featured titles will be available for purchase in the lobby courtesy of Oblong Books. All proceeds will support the Eleanor Roosevelt Center’s future programming including the 2025 Award for Bravery in Literature.
About the Eleanor Roosevelt Center
The Eleanor Roosevelt Center works to honor Eleanor Roosevelt’s values in ways that tackle today’s challenges. The organization is dedicated to breathing new life into the precedents set and the legacies left behind by the First Lady of the World, Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt. We strive to be Eleanor Roosevelt’s heart, mind, and voice in realizing a better world—a world of acceptance, opportunity, dignity, and respect for all.
Eleanor Roosevelt’s passion for civil rights and human rights changed the world and inspired generations. Intellectual freedom was at the heart of her work. She believed that a society cannot “fulfill its commitment to education without taking seriously its commitment to the right to seek, receive, and impart information” and that discourse among diverse voices is foundational to democracy.
About the Fisher Center at Bard
The Fisher Center develops, produces, and presents performing arts across disciplines through new productions and context-rich programs that challenge and inspire. As a premier professional performing arts center and a hub for research and education, the Fisher Center supports artists, students, and audiences in the development and examination of artistic ideas, offering perspectives from the past and present as well as visions of the future. The Fisher Center demonstrates Bard’s commitment to the performing arts as a cultural and educational necessity. Home is the Fisher Center for the Performing Arts, designed by Frank Gehry and located on the campus of Bard College in New York’s Hudson Valley. The Fisher Center offers outstanding programs to many communities, including the students and faculty of Bard College and audiences in the Hudson Valley, New York City, across the country, and around the world. Building on a 163-year history as a competitive and innovative undergraduate institution, Bard is committed to enriching culture, public life, and democratic discourse by training tomorrow’s thought leaders.
The Center presents more than 200 world-class events and welcomes 50,000 visitors each year. The Fisher Center supports artists at all stages of their careers and employs more than 300 professional artists annually. The Fisher Center is a powerful catalyst for art-making regionally, nationally, and worldwide. Every year, it produces 8 to 10 major new works in various disciplines. Over the past five years, its commissioned productions have been seen in more than 100 communities around the world. During the 2018–2019 season, six Fisher Center productions toured nationally and internationally. In 2019, the Fisher Center won the Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical for Daniel Fish’s production of Oklahoma!, which began its life in 2007 as an undergraduate production at Bard and was produced professionally in the Fisher Center’s SummerScape Festival in 2015 before transferring to New York City.
For the Eleanor Roosevelt Center: Samantha Shapley at [email protected] or 845.229-5302.
For the Fisher Center: Blake Zidell of Blake Zidell & Associates at [email protected] or 917.572.2943.
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