"Censorship in any form is a monstrosity, something worse than murder: assaulting thought is a crime that wounds the soul".
This site was born to defend the rights of present and past authors of fiction for adults and children, and their works. While affirming the inalienable right of the reader to dissent, to express a contrary opinion, and to doubt, we likewise affirm the inalienable right of fiction authors not to be silenced in the name of individual or collective sensitivities, and that their works should not be subject to censorship or repression of any kind.
The Italian Children's Writers Association (ICWA) consists of more than 150 Italian authors of children's literature. The ICWA is promoting this action in view of recent instances of censorship, which have become more frequent and more worrisome. These include the idea of the "cancel culture" and are often perpetrated arbitrarily to protect children or for political correctness. Among these, we cite the withdrawal of six Dr. Seuss books from the market, the list of 49 picture books removed from public places by the Mayor of Venice in 2015, and attacks on the work of Mark Twain.
Therefore, the ICWA states that it is:
- Against censorship of literature of any type
- Against historical revisionism
- Against the control of information and knowledge
- Against the suppression of existing literary works
- Against the modification of the works of deceased authors for ideological reasons
- Against totalitarian opinions, the coercion of authors and readers, and ideological oppression.
Specifically with reference to the delicate position of children's writers and their readers, we advocate for careful reflection on the right of the youngest not to be excluded from the full spectrum of opinions and viewpoints available in a truly democratic society, above all through literature that is open to nuance, controversy, and experimentation in general. Furthermore, we are convinced that the need to place into historical context works that today may have controversial meanings can be met with other actions, while respecting both the authors and the readers. For example, the addition of a preface that explains the historical realities under which the work was produced and how the values it expressed today would be considered inappropriate.
Therefore, the ICWA rejects a diminished view of childhood and affirms the right of children and youth to access freely any form of art, past or present, without having their lack of experience being disrespectfully guided or managed as a cognitive, emotional, or intellectual deficiency.
Art and literature, as the highest expression of humanity, may not be considered dangerous, except under an ideological perspective that suggests an underlying extremism, one that is harmful to fundamental rights, including that of free opinion.
The children and youth of today will soon be the adults of tomorrow. Excessive and arbitrary protection from artistic and literary products should be considered an abuse for all intents and purposes, aimed at limiting the development of their critical spirit and manipulating their consciences.
Thus, preventing authors from expressing themselves is obscurantist and antidemocratic.
Censoring, eliminating, or banning a book is an obscurantist and antidemocratic action.
Joseph Goebbels said that burning books was an excellent way to purge the evil spirits of the past. Therefore, we believe that any metaphorical burning of books, especially for the purpose of cancelling History, expresses a dangerous totalitarianism.
Above all, art belongs to humanity. It is a common good, and no one should ever take on themselves the right to remove part of it from the free enjoyment of individuals. This principle may not be violated in a country that wants to call itself a democracy.
The ICWA aims to foster cohesion and synergy among authors, professionals, and individuals on the same wavelength, who intend stand up against the recent waves of censorship and repression in the name of a distorted and aggressive liberalism.
SIGN OUR PETITION HERE, and join a community that reclaims respect of the freedom of expression and opinion for authors, and the right of readers to access their works.