Banned Books Week speaker explores fan fiction and censorship

Local News

A Monmouth College professor, a fan fiction writer since the age of 12, lectures on the subject of fan fiction and censorship Wednesday as part of the college’s observance of Banned Books Week, September 26 through October 2.

Aimee Miller, a 2015 Monmouth graduate who is now part of the communication studies faculty at her alma mater, said “fan fiction is a transformative work. You take a traditional piece of media – so, say, a piece of literature, maybe a TV show, a movie, something like that – and you write your own story on it.”

Miller believes fan fiction is generally a work of love. “You take already established characters and make them your own,” she said. “Writers of fan fiction (usually) want to treat the characters very well. They want to explore these characters, and they want to do right by these characters.”

However, many authors are not welcoming of fan fiction. According to Miller, one issue is that “they’re very possessive. They say, ‘these are my characters and my story and my copyright, so I don’t want people using these characters.'”

Miller said some popular authors have pursued litigation against authors of fan fiction related to their work. “And that is a form of censorship, because you see these authors saying, ‘no, don’t do this writing. Don’t take my characters. I don’t want you sharing that,'” said Miller.

As part of an observance of Banned Books Week, professor Aimee Miller speaks on fan fiction and censorship Wednesday, September 29, 7:00 p.m. at Monmouth College’s Hewes Library, located at 700 East Broadway in Monmouth. For more information, click here.

Banned Books Week was launched in 1982 in response to a sudden surge in the number of challenges to books in schools, bookstores and libraries. The theme of this year’s event is “Books Unite Us. Censorship Divides Us.”

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