Date/Time: Saturday, February 17th, 7:30pm
Location: The Fisher Center at Bard (Manor Ave, Annandale-On-Hudson, NY 12504)
In partnership with:
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.
As more books are being banned than ever before in U.S. 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, U.S. 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.