Volume 90, Issue 82

Thursday, February 20, 1997



A bookish Slack Week

By Kevin Gale
Gazette Staff

While many students will be celebrating a long-awaited break next week, the UWO Bookstore will be curling up with few controversial books.

Members of the Western and London community will participate in a candlelight vigil at the bookstore on Monday commemorating the 14th annual Freedom to Read Week.

The week will feature displays of books challenged for censorship and readings of those books by 10-12 members of the community from Feb. 24 to March 2 in the basement of the University Community Centre.

"It's a chance to show support for intellectual freedom," said Carolyn Young, marketing and promotions person for the bookstore. "It's an opportunity for students to appreciate people who have taken risks in their lives in order to experience intellectual freedom."

Western English professor Allan Gedaloff is one of the members of the community who will be participating in the event.

Gedaloff said the week is a chance to show opposition to censorship. "Everyone should have access to a wide variety of books," he said.

He also said he is participating in the event purely for the enjoyment of reading in a communal environment where discussion and a social atmosphere can be created.

Western's writer-in-residence Terry Griggs said she is participating simply because she was asked by Young and because she believes restrictions should not be imposed on reading.

Young said there have been some seemingly bizarre challenges to books in recent years. She said in London, England in the late 1980s an attempt was made to ban Beatrix Potter's Peter Rabbit because it only portrayed one class of rabbits and not the diversity that exists in England.

Griggs said she is not surprised books are still being challenged for their content because of political correctness. "Where people are stringent and inflexible you have to be careful," she said.

Also, Young said one of the books on display will be Timothy Findley's The Wars, which has been challenged at a Lambton county high school by a student who felt it promoted homosexuality because a male soldier is raped in the book by another male.

Young said other books on display for the week are Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice and Alice Munro's Lives of Girls and Women, both of which have been challenged at some point in history.

To Contact The News Department: gaznews@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 1997