NOVEMBER 2023 – American Book Fest announced the winners and finalists of THE 20th ANNUAL BEST BOOK AWARDS (BBA), one of the world’s largest international book award programs for mainstream, indie, and self-published titles. Over 500 winners and finalists were announced in over 100 categories.
2023 Best Book Awards Category: Current Events
Pulitzer Prize Nominated Winner of the 1993 PEN/Newman’s Own First Amendment Award for Claudia Johnson’s extraordinary efforts to restore banned literary classics from Florida classrooms. Part memoir, part courtroom drama, and part primer for advocates fighting assaults on free speech, Stifled Laughter is the story of one woman's efforts to restore literary classics to the classrooms of rural north Florida. Updated with a new introduction, Johnson's honest, often hilarious, first-person account of censorship in its modern form provides valuable insight into why the books children read at school remains a controversial issue, and why free speech in America remains a precarious right. Johnson fights tirelessly to keep texts like Lysistrata and “The Millers Tale” in Florida school textbooks regardless of a preacher’s efforts to take them out. Readers are given a glimpse into the courtroom and all the drama, passion, and hard work that follows. Johnson’s writing is witty, emotional, and humorous, and it makes you want to jump in and fight censorship and book banning right alongside her. For anyone who has ever wondered just how far those who seek to ban books will go in limiting free expression, this book proves once again that the personal is political. At a time when book banning has reached new heights, parents and teachers, writers, and readers will all benefit from Johnson's experience and be touched by her spirit and courage.