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PEN America 2023 Spring Literary Gala - Red Carpet
Salman Rushdie at the PEN America 2023 Spring Literary Gala held at the American Museum of Natural History on May 18, 2023 in New York City. Photo by Kristina Bumphrey/Variety via Getty Images

Hundreds of authors, including Salman Rushdie, Cheryl Strayed endorse anti-censorship initiative

NEW YORK (AP) — Salman Rushdie, Cheryl Strayed, Carl Hiassen and Ibram X. Kendi are among hundreds of authors who have endorsed an announcement by the American Library Association and the Association of American Publishers that calls attention to the 70th anniversary of a Freedom to Read Statement issued by book publishers and librarians during the height of the McCarthy era.

With book bannings surging nationwide over the past two years, the library and publishing associations are urging "all members of the book community" to affirm their commitment to the June 1953 declaration, which includes such propositions as "It is in the public interest for publishers and librarians to make available the widest diversity of views and expressions, including those that are unorthodox, unpopular, or considered dangerous by the majority."

READ MORE: How many book bans were attempted in your state? Use this map to find out

Sunday's press announcement reads in part: "Today, as we grapple with a new wave of censorship in schools, libraries, and bookstores targeting a wide range of expression, including fiction and nonfiction, the Freedom to Read Statement remains an important defense of the freedom to write, publish and inquire."

Supporters of the initiative also include Jennifer Egan, Ron Chernow, Jodi Picoult, along with such organizations as Penguin Random House, Simon & Schuster, the Authors Guild and the American Booksellers Association.

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