Hundreds of authors and illustrators of children’s and young adult books have signed a letter calling for the repeal of House Bill 2, which they call a “hateful piece of legislation.”
School Library Journal released the letter, titled “An Open Letter To Our North Carolina Readers.” It says that the 269 authors and illustrators who signed “will not support a state government that promotes discrimination” and “will have to consider our participation in conferences and festivals in North Carolina while this law is in place.”
The authors join more than 100 major companies in opposing the law, which replaces local ordinances with a statewide nondiscrimination law that doesn’t include sexual orientation and gender identity as protected categories
The well-known names on the letter include “The Fault in Our Stars” author John Green, “Divergent” author Veronica Roth, “Percy Jackson” author Rick Riordan, “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” author Jeff Kinney, and Daniel Handler, who writes under the pen name Lemony Snicket. Rainbow Rowell, Sarah Dessen and Scott Westerfeld also signed.
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While the authors say they might not attend conferences and festivals, the letter promises that they won’t avoid North Carolina entirely.
“You have our word that we will never abandon our thousands and thousands of readers in North Carolina,” the letter says. “We stand with those who share our guiding principles and fundamental beliefs of equality, inclusion, and fair treatment. Thus, we will continue to visit your schools and libraries.
“We want to tell all of you, our readers, in no uncertain terms, that you are wonderful just as you are. Now more than ever, we stand with you. With all of you. We will continue to stand with you, to stand for you, and to speak out on your behalf against laws and lawmakers that would deprive you of your rights.”
The new law does have support in some segments of the literary community. Archangel Michael Orthodox Christian Bookstore in Winston-Salem is one of the 50-plus businesses that signed a Keep N.C. Safe Coalition petition backing the law.