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Celebrate Banned Books Week!

The following blog post was written by Sarah Brown, literary operations fellow at Writers & Books.

September 27th-October 3rd is Banned Books Week. If a book is challenged, it means someone or some group is trying to remove it from schools or libraries in an area. If they succeed, then the book is considered a banned book. Throughout the world, there have been countless challenged and banned books. Banned Books Week aims to draw attention to this problem and celebrate everyone’s freedom to read!

Most times a book is challenged because it is deemed to use offensive language or be sexually explicit. Young adult books are challenged the most frequently, and this is definitely concerning. Where would we be if we had not read Catcher in the Rye or Beloved or To Kill A Mockingbird in high school? More than anything, the books we read when we are young help us decide what kind of person we want to be growing up. And that is why bringing attention to Banned Books Week is so important.

Here at Writers & Books we are definitely celebrating! In the building we will have a display of some books that have been banned. And because we believe so strongly that everyone should always be able to read whatever they choose, these books are free to take home! Stop by 740 University Ave and pick up your own banned book and help us celebrate Banned Books Week!

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Fall Events at the Gell Center!

The following blog post was written by staff member Kathy Pottetti.

Fall offers an array of events and classes at the Gell Center to whet your appetite!  The first fall program is a Wide Open Mic taking place on October 8th and November 12th from 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.  This is an opportunity to share your poetry, prose, or comedy for 5 minutes per reading to a wonderful audience!  Come early to explore the beautiful grounds and facility at the Gell Center.  We’ll supply coffee and tea for the group.  Here’s the schedule:

October 8th: Hosted by Steve Lewandowski & Autumn Star.  Theme:  Underground, as in the Pokey Lafarge song on Something in the Water.
November 12th:  Hosted by Edgar Brown & DJ Kitzel.  Theme:  Gratitude Storytelling and Pot Luck Dinner Night.


There are two workshops in October, The first is Seasons of Reflection (A Day of Nonfiction) with Sejal Shah and Gregory Gerard on October 3rd from 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.  The other workshop is Writing and Yoga with Sejal Shah on October 18th from 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.Visit our website for further information on both classes!  These are two exceptional writers and instructors who really enjoy teaching, and especially enjoy offering classes at
the Gell Center!


 Hope to see you at some of these wonderful offerings this fall!


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Poets Joan Murray & Sarah Freligh to read at Writers & Books

Rochester NY: Writers & Books will host Joan Murray and Sarah Freligh for an evening of poetry on Tuesday, October 6th from 6:30 to 8:30 PM. Admission will be $3 for members, $6 for general public.

Joan Murray is the author of previous, prize-winning books from W. W. Norton, Beacon Press and Wesleyan University Press. The winner of two National Endowment for the Arts’ Poetry Fellowships, she was commissioned by Broadway’s Jujamcyn Theaters to adapt her work for the stage. Her poems have appeared in many journals and anthologies, includingThe Atlantic Monthly, Harper’s, The Nation, The New York Times, The Best American Poetry and The Pushcart Prize, and she has read her work on Morning Edition, Bob Edwards Weekend, RadioLab and other NPR shows. To learn more about Joan Murray, click here to visit her website.Screen Shot 2015-09-17 at 11.07.45 AM

Sarah Freligh is the author of Sort of Gone and A Brief Natural History of an American Girl, winner of the Editor’s Choice Award from Accents Publishing. Recent work has appeared in Brevity, Rattle, The Sunburnt district and Barn Owl Review. She has received poetry fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Constance Saltonstall Foundation and the New York State Council for the Arts.

For more information on this event visit our website at

For more information on Joan Murray & Sarah Freligh, contact Director of Adult Programming Al Abonado at