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Contact: National Coalition Against Censorship | (212) 807-6222 | ncac@ncac.org

October 30, 2014

National Coalition Against Censorship Honors Neil Gaiman and Celebrates 40 Years of Free Speech Advocacy at Nov 3 Gala

NEW YORK, NY —The National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) celebrates 40 years of free speech advocacy on Monday, November 3 at Tribeca 360° with an evening honoring award-winning writer Neil Gaiman, who talks about his own encounters with censorship in this exclusive video; award-winning children’s book author Robie H. Harris; and Larissa Mark and the Trumbull High School Thespian Society. Actor, author and humorist John Hodgman emcees the free speech event of the year, chaired by Michael Morrison, President and Publisher, U.S. General Books Group and Canada, HarperCollins Publishers. The evening will also feature a special performance by Amanda Palmer.

For this milestone year, NCAC launched its inaugural list of Free Speech Defenders, which includes the honorees on November 3, in addition to the 37 other writers, artists, activists, students, educators, lawmakers, corporations, and celebs du jour who protected First Amendment rights and promoted free expression in 2014.

Neil Gaiman is a #1 New York Times bestselling author of more than twenty books for readers of all ages and the recipient of numerous literary awards, including the Shirley Jackson Award and the Locus Award for Best Novelette for his story The Truth Is A Cave in the Black Mountains. Gaiman’s Absolute Sandman has been listed as one of the top banned and challenged graphic novels by the American Library Association, and his critically-acclaimed Neverwhere was temporarily removed last year from a New Mexico high school after a parent considered one scene “R-Rated.” He has been fighting censorship since a scene he wrote in Outrageous Tales from the Old Testament (1987) nearly sent a publisher to prison.

Robie H. Harris is an award-winning author of more than twenty-five children’s books. Her internationally-acclaimed book It’s Perfectly Normal: Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex, and Sexual Health, was a Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor Book and a New York Times Best Book of the Year, as was her book It’s So Amazing! A Book About Eggs, Sperm, Birth, Babies, and Families; this year the books celebrate their 20th and 15th anniversaries, respectively. Most recently, It’s Perfectly Normal was listed as #7 on the American Library Association’s list of most frequently challenged books of the 21st century.

The Trumbull High School Thespian Society was led by Thespian president and Trumbull senior Larissa Mark when the principal at the Connecticut high school cancelled the award-winning musical theatre program’s planned production of Rent, fearing it’s subject matter too controversial. Mark, with the support of drama teacher Jessica Spillane, unleashed a social media campaign and mobilized the Trumbull community to protest the decision. In a victory for freedom in the performing arts and for student speech, the Thespians staged Rent in March 2014 to rave reviews. Mark is now a freshman at Columbia University. Spillane will be directing her 17th musical at Trumbull next spring.

Sponsors of the NCAC celebration include HarperCollins Publishers, Barnes & Noble, Penguin Random House, ABRAMS, Candlewick Press, News Corp, Penguin Young Readers Group, Simon & Schuster, Hachette Book Group, The Kids Fund, Writers House LLC, and many more.

The National Coalition Against Censorship is a nonprofit organization; all tickets are tax-deductible. To be added to the press list, please contact ncac@ncac.org.

WHO: National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC), Neil Gaiman, Robie Harris, The Trumbull High School Thespian Society, John Hodgman, Amanda Palmer, and Michael Morrison.

WHAT: Annual Celebration of Free Speech & Its Defenders and NCAC’s 40 Year Anniversary

WHEN: Monday, November 3; 6:00 p.m. Cocktail Reception / 7:00 p.m. Dinner and Awards

WHERE: Tribeca 360°, 10 Desbrosses Street, lower Manhattan

The National Coalition Against Censorship promotes freedom of thought, inquiry, and expression and opposes censorship in all its forms. NCAC’s diverse coalition of more than 50 national organizations, representing the artistic, educational, religious, and labor communities, join together in the interest of protecting First Amendment rights. Learn more about current campaigns at pair.ncac.org.

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