Five New Authors Join PRH Lawsuit Involving Book Bans

Authors speak out against book bans in Iowa that prohibit schools from sharing books. Read on to find out more.

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Book shelf with word banned spread across it

At the end of November 2023, Penguin Random House and the Iowa State Education Association filed a lawsuit against an Iowa senate bill. The bill being called to question, according to Publishing Perspectives, prohibits certain books discussing topics of sexual orientation, gender fluidity and sex from being shared in classroom and school libraries.

Notable authors John Green, Jodi Picoult, Laurie Halse Anderson, and Malinda Lo were on the original list of plaintiffs, all of whom have seen their works, such as The Fault in Our Stars by Green and Speak by Anderson, added to a long list of banned books in Iowa.

In late December 2023, an injunction was issued by US District Court Judge Stephen Locher, putting an end to the teacher muzzling and book bans that Senate File 496 had put into motion.

"Speak," "The Handmaids Tale," and "The Fault in Our Stars" covers.

On April 15, it was made public that five more publishers were being added to the list of plaintiffs, joining the PRH suit in its challenging of Senate File 496. The publishers joining the list of plaintiffs are Hachette Book Group, Macmillan Publishers, Simon & Schuster, Sourcebooks, and HarperCollins Publishers. They issued a joint statement, saying:

“The alarming rise of book bans across the country demands our collective action. Now, more than ever, we must stand firmly with our authors and readers to defend the fundamental right to read and the freedom of expression.”

Joint Statement, Five Publishers Join PRH in Its Lawsuit of Iowa

The state of Iowa, unfortunately, appealed the injunction made by Judge Locher, but the plaintiffs filed a brief with the Court of Appeals to have the appeal overturned. Penguin Random House issued a statement listing books that will be removed from Iowa libraries. The list includes Forever by Judy Blume, The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, and many more.

The original Senate File 296 was enacted in May 2023. Penguin Random House filed their lawsuit back in November 2023, and they are also the plaintiffs in another lawsuit with PEN America in the Escambia County School District in Florida.

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