Author to speak on banned books

Published 11:13 pm Thursday, September 20, 2018


The Suffolk Public Library will kick off Banned Books Week this weekend with an engaging conversation over craft beer.

Talks on Tap, a guest lecture series with informal flair, will be held from 4 to 5 p.m. Sunday at Brick and Mortar Brewing Company, 212 E. Washington St. The event is free to attend and does not require a library membership.

Email newsletter signup

Alicia DeFonzo, author and lecturer of English at Old Dominion University, will discuss the topic “What Happens When You Read Banned Books.” DeFonzo will dive into some titles that have been challenged recently and in the past 20 years to raise awareness of the harm caused by censorship.

“It’s quite eye-opening when you hear it and learn about it, and a lot of people walk away from these talks saying ‘I never knew, thank you for telling me,’” DeFonzo said in a phone interview.

Banned Books Week began in 1982 when there was a sudden surge in the number of challenges to books in schools, bookstores and libraries, according to This year’s event will be held from Sept. 23-29.

“Banned Books Week brings together the entire book community — librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers and readers of all types — in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular,” according to

DeFonzo explained that many lists covering the “100 greatest American novels” feature numerous titles that can be found on lists of challenged books that are compiled by the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom.

“Studies overwhelmingly show that controversial books like on the banned books list teach compassion above all,” she said.

This censorship tries to subdue the voice of minority communities, she said, while also threatening both the history and literacy of the United States.

“If I’m not having this conversation and I’m not teaching future teachers, then who is?” she asked.

Visit for more information on this year’s event. For more information about Talks on Tap, visit or call 514-7323.