Author Judy Blume says she worries about intolerance in the US, following the removal in schools of some of her novels.
Blume’s bestselling 1970 novel Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret has been adapted for the screen and is due to be released in May, starring Abby Ryder Fortson, Rachel McAdams and Kathy Bates. The book, which still sells today, has always drawn controversy for its open discussion of dawning sexuality and religion.
One of Blume’s other novels, Forever, was recently pulled from schools in Martin County district of Florida (along with titles by authors including James Patterson and Toni Morrison). On Sunday Blume told the BBC in London that “banning books” has become political – “worse than it was in the 1980s.”
She added: “I thought that was over frankly, I thought we had come through that, you know, not in every way, but I never expected us to be back where we were in the ’80s plus, much worse.
“I came through the ’80s when book banning was really at its height. And it was terrible. And then libraries and schools began to get policies in place and we saw a falling off of the desire to censor books.
“Now it is back, it is back much worse – this is in America, it is back so much worse than it was in the 80s. Because it’s become political.”
And Blume, whose novels have sold an estimated 90 million copies and been translated into more than 30 languages, added that she worries about increasing intolerance in her country, describing it as “intolerance about everything, gender, sexuality, racism. It’s just reaching a point where again we have to fight back, we have to stand up and fight.”