In celebration of Banned Books Week, Brazos Bookstore presents an afternoon of live, in-house printmaking with Workhorse Printmakers. The local letterpress studio will be printing broadsides and posters dedicated to “the best books to-have-been-banned in the past,” according to the event page on Brazos Bookstore’s website.
Judith Krug—librarian and former director of the ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom, now deceased—began Banned Books Week in 1982. The campaign quickly gained favor with library associations, like the American Library Association (ALA), and booksellers alike for the event’s reinforcement of First Amendments rights and freedom of expression. In keeping with this outlook, Brazos Bookstore and Workhorse Printmakers will be printing broadside designs on fine letterpress papers featuring quotes from the banned books.
Historically, broadsides were the one of the most popular form of printing. Used primarily to inform the general public of current events, broadsides were also adapted for political and social movements as their on-side-only printing allowed for cheap production. And because broadsides needed to be visible from afar, they allowed printers to be creative with large type and engravings. More creativity combined with political agendas gave printers a lot of control, and broadsides became indicative of inflammatory and tense topics of the day.
Literature has always been and continues to be inflammatory. According to bannedbooksweek.org, more than 11,300 books have been banned since 1982, including Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird and Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, which remain challenged to this day.
Event attendees will be able to purchase broadsides with quotes from Lolita, Women in Love, and more, as well as foil stamp each print purchased. There will also be a press set up for printing event posters on newsprint.
The event will be held on September 22 from 12pm to 3pm at Brazos Bookstore. For more information, visit Brazos Bookstore at brazosbookstore.com/event. For more information on Banned Books Week, visit the ALA or bannedbooksweek.org.
Image design credit: Moolee Bunnag and Jennifer Blanco.