ABC Presents: Sensitivity Readers and Free Expression

Wednesday, January 24, 2018 -
9:20am to 10:20am
Room: 
Mississippi

Sensitivity readers review manuscripts for bias and potentially offensive words and situations, but do they create a chilling effect on the publication and sale of works with serious value? Recent book controversies have caused publishers of children’s books to cancel titles that have come under attack or that they fear will be attacked. One national review publication retracted a starred review under such pressure. In this session, free speech experts will join booksellers in discussing the free speech implications of the increasing sensitivity to diversity and authentic multicultural representation in the publication and sale of children’s books, including the use of a sensitivity reader on a bookstore staff.

Joan Trygg, Red Balloon Bookshop (Saint Paul, MN); Kenny Brechner, Devaney, Doak & Garrett Booksellers (Farmington, ME); Nadine Strossen, Professor of Law at New York Law School and Former President ACLU (New York, NY); Dhonielle Clayton, We Need Diverse Books (New York, NY); Moderated by Christopher Finan, Executive Director of National Coalition Against Censorship (New York, NY)

About ABA

The American Booksellers Association, a national not-for-profit trade organization, works with booksellers and industry partners to ensure the success and profitability of independently owned book retailers, and to assist in expanding the community of the book.

Independent bookstores act as community anchors; they serve a unique role in promoting the open exchange of ideas, enriching the cultural life of communities, and creating economically vibrant neighborhoods.

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