Gray areas of uncertainty, anxiety, subjectivity and a gaping lack of state direction are shading the new regime of serial book challenges and book bans in the Flagler school district as the state Department of Education has yet to issue directions on library holdings.
The school district has been quietly and steadily banning books from library shelves at Flagler Palm Coast and Matanzas High, and at Indian Trails and Buddy Taylor middle schools since summer, FlaglerLive has found, with every title part of a list of challenges from just three members of the group known as “Moms for Liberty.” There is no indication that the challengers are reading the books, but they have been asked to join the district’s review committee.
Sri Lankan novelist Shehan Karunatilaka has won the 2022 Booker Prize for his second novel, The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida. The Booker prize is the among most important international literary prize for writers of English after the Nobel. It is awarded each year for the best novel written in English and published in the United Kingdom or Ireland.
The farce is the positioning of this battle as one conducted between “unauthorized biography” on the one hand and “authorized” biography on the other – the publisher, for hinting at scandalous content by casting the work as “unauthorized,” and the aggrieved, to think they have any power to “authorize” whether the biography gets published in the first place.
The French writer Annie Ernaux has won the 2022 Nobel prize in literature at the age of 82. The academy praised her “for the courage and clinical acuity with which she uncovers the roots, estrangements and collective restraints of personal memory.”
Freedom Readers, a book club for teens focused on banned and challenged books, emerged at the Flagler County Public Library in response to the book-banning controversies at the Flagler school board last fall. The club is one of several initiatives countering “what feels like a lot of repression,” in the words of Youth Services Librarian Gemma Rose.
The Annual 2022 Florida Authors and Publishers Association President’s Book Awards has recognized Harry Saves Wreck by Dr. Robert A. Ernst, a Palm Coast resident, in the category of Children Grades 3-5, as a Silver Medal winner at their annual awards banquet this month.
Octavia Butler was the first science fiction writer to be awarded a MacArthur Genius Grant. A pioneering writer in a genre long dominated by white men, her work explored power structures, shifting definitions of humanity and alternative societies.
In recognition of LGBT Pride Month, Jonathan Alexander – an English professor with a scholarly interest in the interplay between sexuality and literature, and the children’s and young adult fiction section editor for the Los Angeles Review of Books, presents his “must-reads” for this summer.
An award-winning political dark comedy by Cal Massey, a Daytona Beach News-Journal editor retired in Flagler Beach, has been published by the Journal of Experimental Fiction in Chicago. Massey retired as deputy managing editor of the Daytona Beach News-Journal in 2016.