December 4, 2023

SCRIBE at Spirit Week: The Translated and Queer/Banned Book Expo

By Stephanie Nunez

NYU School of Professional Studies hosted an incredible and successful 2023 Spirit Week for its students, and this Thursday, October 26th, the International Bazaar took place to celebrate Global Day! To raise awareness of the joyful voices and important stories that shine through the literature we cherish, SCRIBE hosted a table displaying our favorites from international authors and their translated works, including queer authors as well as some of those that have been banned in certain parts of the U.S. The value of the unspoken is one we hold very closely, and displaying their works is a small part in the refusal to stay silent and to uplift those who inspire us. However, you may be wondering…

Who is SCRIBE?

SCRIBE is the Society of Creative Writers, Readers, Interpreters, and Book Enthusiasts. Born from what were previously known as the Publishing Student Association (PSA) and the Online Writing and Literature Club (OWLS), we are a new collective of literature, publishing, and writing enthusiasts of all kinds and are thrilled to be joining the NYU student community in this first year! Our main goal is to help the students of SPS meet their professional and personal goals, engage in fun activities revolving around literature we love, and remind the community of the value of the written word.


The 2023 International Bazaar: The Translated and Queer/Banned Book Expo!

Cover of "Spellbound". (Two people dancing, title above them and author below)

For our booth, we wanted to display important stories from international and queer authors alike, as well as discuss statistics in regards to banned books in the U.S., and how that has affected open speech through literature. We displayed memoirs, fiction, and graphic novels all by queer authors. One of our books, Spellbound by Bishakh Som, was even personally signed for our very own SCRIBE secretary Laura Bourbonnais!

Two of the books on our table, Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe and Two of the books on our table, Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe and All Boys Aren't Blue by George M. Johnson, were listed among the eight most challenged books of 2022. Book banning is an issue that plagues much of American classrooms, and the bans suppress and suffocate more often than not the voices of queer authors telling their stories and bringing to light the struggles of growing up queer in this society.

Cover of "All Boys Aren't Blue" (Person wearing flower clown with title on lower left and author on lower right)

Cover of  "No Longer Human". (Silhouette of person-link figure with title and author overlayed)

To showcase our international authors, there was a wide array on our table from Sanskrit, to Japanese, to French, to Korean. Osamu Dazai, author of No Longer Human, tells a harrowing story of the struggles of Oba Yozo, a young man who attempts to mask his alienation in high school and down the line eventually attempts to take his own life in adulthood. Lauded by The Japan Times as a timeless novel, it is a story of the pain of growing up misunderstood as well as the blunt nature of the novel adding realism and poignancy to the craft. What we wanted students to take away from our tables goes far beyond just the titles shown: to be a voice for these important stories that are so intrinsically tied to the human experience of identity was very important to us, and it was an honor to be the ones to showcase.

Getting to hear from the voices in our own community was another huge highlight for us, since our booth spawned many questions about our selections! Here’s some of what the SPS community had to say:

Table, covered in purple table cloth, various flags hanging in front (from right to left, U.S.A, Morroco,  Cameroon, Israel, and Belgium are visible). Table has multiple books on display as well as an open that has a message. There is a person behind the table to the right and behind the table is a window.

I actually read [The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo] right here. It was a complete plot twist, and I also read the book in [her] recommended suggestions because I love the author, she’s very well written, and she tells the story really well. Your message about promoting queer [literature] is very inclusive. This is definitely a recommendation.”—Ashna, M.S. in Integrated Marketing

“I really like the selection that we have here today, especially the fact that we’re focusing on banned books. I have been doing a little bit of reading on it and it’s such a major issue. I just really enjoy the fact that there’s a lot of focus on making sure that these books receive a lot of attention, that they’re not kept hidden because they deserve to be known. These are stories that have to be told. I’m definitely interested in checking them out more.”—Kate, M.S. in Publishing

Global Day was the first of many exciting events we are thrilled to be a part of at NYU SPS. What we hope to achieve as a collective is to inspire the student body by showcasing the written word that surrounds us daily. We are excited to be officially joining the community and sharing our love of literature with you all. Follow along @nyu_scribe on Instagram!


Stephanie Nunez (MS in Professional Writing Class of 2025) resides in The Bronx, New York. Passionate about being a voice for societal change, Stephanie hopes to one day work for a foundation that strives to assist low-income communities and support their growth toward a brighter future.


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