Storytelling Sessions for Banned Books Week | 23-29 September

A close up of a Winnie the Pooh book in a bookshelf
Published : 20 Sep 2018

The Word Defiant! reveals stories of books that have been banned, burned, redacted, drowned, neglected and superseded, with each linked to the theme of books under threat. With this in mind, we'll be joining in the conversation during Banned Books Week (23-29 September) focusing on The Word Banned installation itself and holding storytelling sessions on banned books.

The Word Banned

In 2017 Chinese censors banned Winnie-the-Pooh after unflattering comparisons were made between A.A. Milne’s fictional character and Chinese premier Xi Jinping. Images of Jinping with Barack Obama set alongside images of Winnie-the-Pooh and Tigger were first circulated on Chinese social media platform WeChat in 2013. The restriction remains in place.

If you're visiting, the sound recording you’ll hear is in Mandarin Chinese: ‘Sshhh, put that back!’ and ‘Don’t tell anyone that you saw this.’

This story is particularly relevant at the present time with the recent film release of Christopher Robin, which has again been banned in China.

Storytelling Sessions

Tuesday 25 September | 12.45pm, 1.30pm, 2.15pm and 3pm

We'll be looking at why books are banned, censored, altered and redacted, with particular reference to books written by female authors including:

Children's Books: Noddy, Harry Potter, Anne Frank's Diary, Black Beauty, Blubber, Harriet the Spy and Uncle Tom's Cabin.

Adult Books: The Handmaid's Tale, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Well of Loneliness, The Country Girls, I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, The Colour Purple, Frankenstein and Wild Swans.

Saturday 29 September | 12.45pm, 1.30pm, 2.15pm and 3pm

As well as touching on Winnie the Pooh, we'll be focusing on children's poetry book 'A Light in the Attic' by Shel Silverstein. This was the first children's book to appear on the New York Times best sellers list, whilst at the same time topping the list of the most frequently challenged books - although the book itself was never actually banned, several of the poems constantly caused controversy.

Families are very welcome on both sessions. Normal admission applies, but there is limited space in the room, so entry will be on a first-come, first serve basis.

Burned books lit from above, Blickling, Norfolk

The Word Defiant! Installations 

Find out more about each of the seven installations which make up The Word Defiant! From stories of books that have been banned, redacted and burned to those neglected, superseded, drowned and defiant.