A raucous good time was had by all at the 2019 Banned Books Bash at Spider House Ballroom!

Each year during Banned Books Week, we celebrate the freedom to read and the need to fight for that right.

Our most recent Banned Books Bash on September 25 welcomed more than 100 book lovers and brought in 30 new memberships to the Library Foundation, raising nearly $2,000 in support of Austin Public Library programming.

Crowd at Banned Books BashIn conjunction with the American Library Association’s Banned Books Week, and presented with PEN America, the Banned Books Bash was a fun, nerdy reminder that books need champions, and libraries feed democracy.

Evan Narcisse, writer for Marvel’s Rise of the Black Panther Series, hosted the event, and led conversations with literary and creative luminaries, such as Jennifer Wilks, Associate Professor in English and African and African Diaspora Studies. Wilks and Narcisse celebrated the life and work of Toni Morrison. “If there is a literary equivalent of side eye,” said Wilks, “Toni Morrison was at the top of her game.” Comics writer Michael Conrad joined Narcisse for a chat on The Comics Code, and honored the underground comics rebels who defied convention in the face of censorship. “There are always badasses who do what they want and become legends,” Conrad said. “They’ll live on forever.”

Ukuladies Banned BooksMiss Anne Thrope entertained us with a Drag Queen Storytime reading of A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo. “In the drag queen world we call it shade,”  said Miss Anne Thrope. “This book does that job miraculously.” And Mike Kanin, publisher of The Texas Observer, led guests in a toast to legend and rabble-rouser Molly Ivins.

Typewriter Rodeo gifted guests with spontaneous poetry, and Ukuladies and the Tramps performed a set of banned songs!

Evan and Michael at BBBThe 2019 Banned Books Bash was bursting with love for libraries, our freedom to read whatever we choose, and our continued fight to protect those rights. Host Evan Narcisse summed it up best in his Library Love Story: “Thank you for all the words, for all the portals, for all the dreams… Thanks for making me who I am and for showing my kid who she can be.”

Thank you to everyone who attended this year’s Bash, and special thanks to our newest members! Kudos to our biggest donor of the evening (and winner of a signed copy of Black Panther), Stewart Williams for his generous gift! Enjoy more photos from the event here!

Fun Facts from the Banned Books Bash:

  • Most popular choices for favorite banned books among guests: Persepolis,The Hate U Give, and The Handmaid’s Tale.
  • Library Foundation members receive free tickets to the Banned Books Bash. Become a member here today!

We also asked guests, “Why do you love the library?” Here’s a few of our favorite replies:

  • Community, reading, shelves and shelves of imagination and creativity and truth and essential wisdom. It’s home. ~ Becka
  • As a writer, the library provides great support and programming. As a parent, I love that my kids are growing up in the library. As a reader, the library is everything. ~ Stephanie
  • It is absolutely one of the best things about our society. Free education, support, media—it connects us all. Thank you for your support. ~ Merri
  • It protects and promotes our cultural heritage and makes it available to everyone. ~ Tam

We hope you’ll join us for next year’s Banned Books Bash!