Renowned author and Indy native Kurt Vonnegut took an unflinching look at the world, tempered with a satirical eye and sardonic sense of humor. I often wonder what Vonnegut would say about the state of the world if he were alive today. One thing is for certain: he would appreciate that the Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library (KVML) does not cease advocating for free speech or expression when faced with adversity.
Banned Books Week (September 27 - October 3) is a national celebration sponsored by the American Library Association that raises awareness about censorship. To lead the celebration in Indy, each year the KVML curates an impressive lineup of activities presented by artists, professors, and authors to enlighten, entertain, and educate. This year, all programs are going virtual except for the fundraiser on October 1 (tickets start at $100).
One of the most fascinating elements of this week-long program is that an artist, educator, or other free speech champion remains imprisoned behind a wall of real banned books.
Last year's Banned Books Week Activist in Residence, Brett Stoker
With this year’s theme of civic engagement, activist and poet Manon Voice will take the torch as Activist in Residence to educate and enthrall visitors throughout the week. Virtual guests can tune in to Facebook Live each day at 2 pm EST when Manon will read from a banned book and answer questions.
9.27 | 2 PM: Securing the Vote: Women’s Suffrage in Indiana
9.28 | 6 PM: Free Speech in Cancel Culture
9.29 | 6 PM: A History of Protesting Change
9.30 | 6 PM: Radical Reads Reading Circle
10.1 | 6 PM: KVML Fundraiser Special Event with Phoenix Theatre
10.2 | 6 PM: Slaughterhouse-Five Graphic Novel Virtual Reading and Interview
10.3 | 12:30 PM: Release of KVML's Annual Literary Journal, So It Goes
10.4 | 1 PM: Youth Writing Program
Virtual attendees can also look forward to the release of the KVML’s annual So It Goes literary journal. "So It Goes is a unique literary journal — designed to bring together work from veterans and civilians, established authors and virtual unknowns, high school students and nonagenarians," says the KVML. The collection features short stories, poems, and artwork that transcends boundaries of occupation and background. "It’s a journal that has been, in a way, unstuck in time."
Weekly passes are available starting at $30 for members ($45 for non-members) and include virtual access to all programs. Tickets can also be purchased by event and start at $12 for members ($15 non-members).