This is happening...

Jul 21, 2023
We are currently living in a world where books are being banned.

Not all books.

Books by people of colour, by LGBTQ+ authors, by women. Books that explore, share, express views on racism, sexuality, gender, and non-anglo history.

Yes. This is 2023, and yes, this is happening.

Some of these books are being banned in schools, and it might be that some topics are too advanced for primary school children. It depends on how much you want your children to know about the many varied ways people experience being human.

But some of these books are being banned in libraries and prisons.

It rips me apart. I know first-hand how powerful it is to read stories that make one feel not so alone. When I first read Maya Angelou's I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, and Alice Walker’s The Colour Purple, even though my lived experiences differed from the experiences in both of these books, I felt seen and I felt less alone.

Authors who look like you or feel like you do, or mirror back to you that who you are is okay, that you are worthy of love and acceptance, can have a huge impact on our mental health and sense of belonging in the world.

We are living in a time where so many of our young people with marginalised identities are suffering from higher rates of depression, addiction and suicide rates than their peers.

There are people in all our lives who need to know that who they are is okay, and sometimes the only way they can experience this is to read the words of someone else who has, or is living with, the same struggles that they are living with.

In my book POWER, I write about the collective power of the suffragettes, the civil rights activists, and the disrupters of oppressive regimes such as apartheid and, more recently #metoo and Black Lives Matter.

“And as their movements gained momentum, as they became a thorn in the side of the status quo of the ‘power over’ model, they begin to understand their power to change things. Because if a power structure, when threatened, puts everything it has into discrediting, oppressing and stopping you from asserting your power, you're onto something. Keep going.”

I am not yet in this position where my books are being banned, and I hope I never will be, but who knows, but it doesn’t stop the pain I feel.

My publishing house is putting on a global masterclass for all their authors on how to look after one's authorship during this time. I will be attending.

My invitation to you is to consciously buy books from authors whose books have been banned or books from writers who have fought to have a voice in the mainstream publishing space.

Yes, more of us have voices, and it is about time, and yet, our voices are targeted and oppressed in many ways, and in 2023, it is our books.

Sometimes it’s the little things that make a difference, and activism and allyship can be as simple as buying a book.

From the banned list, I’m buying:

Gender Queer: A Memoir, by Maia Kobabe

Tricks, by Ellen Hopkins

If you would like to read more about this topic - Pen America .

It is so easy to think, ‘Well, it's happening in the US and other countries, but it's not happening here in Australia.”

It is happening in Australia. Same, same and different.

My friend Yumi Styne's book ‘Welcome to Sex’ is written for tweens and teens, (she has four children) to counteract the dangerous messages about sex online. The book was co-written with Dr Melissa Kang, who is fully on the front line when it comes to witnessing the impact on our young people being misinformed about sex, sexual assault, consent and sexuality, through screens.

Big W, has just pulled the book from its shelves (they are still selling it online as part of their parenting section), but staff are being harassed for selling the book and Yumi is being trolled.

So, feel free to buy her book too!

As always, I would love to hear your insights, thoughts or musings.

Wishing you a weekend of owning your voice and supporting the voices of those who have different lived experiences than you do.


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