For every group that seeks to boycott a book for bigoted reasons, there’s another group happy to step in and encourage others to freely read.
Last week, the Daily Dot reported that some incoming freshmen at Duke University are refusing to read Alison Bechdel’s graphic memoir Fun Home, citing their moral opposition to the book’s frank depiction of lesbian sexuality. Since its publication in 2006, Fun Home has been frequently embroiled in controversy and is often invoked in discussions about banned books.
This afternoon, producers of the Broadway musical adaptation announced they will provide 250 free copies to any incoming freshman—at any school across the country—who wants one.
Interested students must submit their contact information and proof of college enrollment on the Fun Home website. Books will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. Said the musical in their official statement:
“The producers of Fun Home on Broadway feel that the issues and subject matter explored in Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic are important and worthy of discussion, especially when entering the world of higher education.”
Already, fans are taking to Twitter to express their enthusiasm:
— gill (@gillef_1113) August 31, 2015
This is not the first time the production has leapt into action amidst controversy over the book. In 2014, legislators in South Carolina threatened the College of Charleston with budget cuts after the school assigned the graphic memoir to incoming freshmen. Having just recently closed the then-off-Broadway run of the show, the cast and writers traveled with Bechdel to Charleston for a special, one-time performance.
In June, Fun Home won five Tony Awards, including Best Musical. Writers Jeanine Tesori and Lisa Kron also won the award for Best Original Score, making them the first all-female writing team in Tony history to do so.
Supplies in the book giveaway are very limited, so if you are just starting your first year of undergrad—or if you know someone who is—submit your information today.
Illustration via Panels