Beth Ann Fennelly, Tom Franklin, and Sarah Frances Hardy

Two of today’s featured local authors are a married couple; Tom Franklin and Beth Ann Fennelly’s co-authored novel, The Tilted World, will be released next month.

Beth Ann Fennelly is a poet and essayist whose poetry collections include Tender Hooks and Great With Child: Letters to a Young Mother. She teaches poetry and non-fiction at Ole Miss.

People who ban books fear the transporting power of the imagination, but it is this power that can save us.  Carl Sagan wrote, “We are an intelligent species and the use of our intelligence quite properly gives us pleasure. In this respect the brain is like a muscle. When we think well, we feel good. Understanding is a kind of ecstasy.”  We must not close the doors to ecstasy that come in the form of books.  Banning books has never led to a moral universe.  Developing empathy leads to a moral universe, and reading is the best way I know to develop empathy.”

Tom Franklin’s novels include Hell at the Breach and Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter. He teaches in Ole Miss’s MFA creative writing program.

Tom Franklin

“It’s shocking to me that this is even an issue. I read today that some Alabama politician is trying to ban a Toni Morrison novel for themes of incest, among other things. Well do they want to ban the Bible, too, where incest occurs among the “good guys”?  When a book deals with this or any other difficult topic or theme the book should be lauded, not banned.”

Thanks, Tom and Beth Ann!

Sarah Frances Hardy is the author and illustrator of the children’s books Puzzled By Pink and the upcoming Paint Me. She lives in Oxford (and often visits the LCOPL).


“Often when people ban books, they are responding to a single word or episode in an entire work. If people would take time to read the context of the offensive language, they would have a better understanding of the story as a whole. It’s the height of ignorance to ban a work of literature when you haven’t read it.

Additionally, if you read a book and disagree with its message, it doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t be made available for others to read and form their own opinions.”

Thank you, Sarah Frances!


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