Banned Books Week begins today in the UK and US. From the US site:

During the last week of September every year, hundreds of libraries and bookstores around the country draw attention to the problem of censorship by mounting displays of challenged books and hosting a variety of events. The 2011 celebration of Banned Books Week will be held from September 24 through October 1. Banned Books Week is the only national celebration of the freedom to read. It was launched in 1982 in response to a sudden surge in the number of challenges to books in schools, bookstores and libraries. More than 11,000 books have been challenged since 1982.

The UK site features a full list of the titles banned around the world which are being promoted to support the fight against censorship. There are some truly incredible titles included that I find unbelievable that anyone would ban; Alice In Wonderland, Huckleberry Finn, Brave New World and To Kill a Mockingbird to name four from the top of the list.

This kind of initiative should be celebrated for drawing attention to the truly sad behaviour of some countries and institutions throughout publishing history when faced with material they felt challenged their position. And hurrah for the books that, despite the machinations of censorship, survived and thrived, becoming classics along the way.

Image from DML East Branch’s flickr.