The Mark Blog

Bookmark This: Kurt Vonnegut’s Passionate Take on Censorship

Part of PEN Center USA’s mission is to defend and promote freedom of expression. Last month, PEN Center USA presented Forbidden Fruit, A Banned Literature Showcase. The event featured readings from books that have been banned or challenged in the United States. (You can view images from that event here.)

Our Bookmark This post this week highlights author Kurt Vonnegut’s letter to Charles McCarthy, head of a North Dakota school board, who burned the classic Slaughterhouse-Five after McCarthy found out the novel was being taught at Drake High School. The letter is a powerful and personal reminder of what is at stake when books are challenged.
“Perhaps you will learn from this that books are sacred to free men for very good reasons, and that wars have been fought against nations which hate books and burn them. If you are an American, you must allow all ideas to circulate freely in your community, not merely your own.” – Kurt Vonnegut