In response to rising book censorship in the US, author Margaret Atwood has launched an ‘urburnable’ limited edition of her book ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’. In a dramatic video, the 82-year-old author is seen trying to burn the fireproof book with a flamethrower. In the video posted by publisher Penguin, it is informed that these books are printed on flame-resistant paper, and bound with flame-retardant covers. They are being auctioned at Sotheby’s and the proceeds will go to Pen America. Other materials like Black Cinefoil dust jacket, white heat shield foil pages, section sewn with nickel wire, phenolic hard cover, stainless steel head and tail bands, and Kapton high temperature adhesive ensure that the book is indestructible.
Handmaid’s Tale, a dystopian novel that shows women being used as breeding machines, has been banned in various states in America since it was published 40 years ago. The book entered popular culture after it was made into a successful TV series. The book has gained significance now with the threat of abortion rights being overturned in America. According to an AFP report, polls show that a majority of Americans support some form of access to abortion. But in recent months, Republican-controlled states have taken steps to restrict abortion rights — with some seeking an outright ban of the procedure without any exceptions.
Pen America says that there were 1,586 instances of individual books being banned from July 1, 2021 to March 31, 2022 in the United States of America, which affected 1,145 unique titles. “Out of these, 819 are works of fiction (72%), 537 are classified as YA (young adult) (47%), and 209 (18%) are children’s picture books. We also recorded bans on 31 graphic novels and 32 verse novels, both forms of literature that are often used to engage reluctant readers,” says the organisation.
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