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Authors Respond to Their Books Being Banned

Sendak and Roth each add their own bon mot

Adam Chandler
October 04, 2012
Maurice Sendak(HBO)
Maurice Sendak(HBO)

In honor of Banned Books Week, the good folks over at Flavorpill have assembled a list of their favorite author responses to their books being banned.

We’ve trimmed the list a bit. First, here’s Maurice Sendak in an interview with Stephen Colbert on the frequent banning of In The Night Kitchen:

Stephen Colbert: “This one gets banned all over the place. And you know why.”
Maurice Sendak: “He’s got a dick.”

SC: “Why are you printing a smutty book?”
MS: “Because he’s a boy.”
SC: “Yeah, yeah, but you don’t have to rub it in our face. Boys wear pants.”
MS: “Not when they’re dreaming. Have you never had a dream yourself where you were totally naked?”
SC: “No.”
MS: “Well I think you’re a man of little imagination.”

And also, here’s Philip Roth on the seemingly constant din of noise surrounding his books:

“This indictment is a kind of fever that flares up from time to time. It flared up after Defender of the Faith, again after Goodbye Columbus, and understandably it went way up — to about 107 — after Portnoy’s Complaint. Now there’s just a low-grade fever running, nothing to worry about. I think the generation that got hot and bothered by my work is getting a little tired of the fuss. You know… if you hang around long enough, they begin to get used to you.”

Adam Chandler was previously a staff writer at Tablet. His work has appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Atlantic, Slate, Esquire, New York, and elsewhere. He tweets @allmychandler.