“If somebody claims to have all the answers, they are probably lying.” So says Corey Michael Dalton, who has locked himself in a prison made of banned books to celebrate Banned Books Week. Dalton doesn’t claim to have all the answers; he just has the humble wish that people will read more. His self-imposed exile is an attempt to raise awareness about censorship and reading.
“I didn’t realize that people still banned books,” says Dalton, who was asked to take part in this awareness campaign by the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library (KVML) in Indianapolis. They have a stake in the argument, as they worked to oppose the ban of Slaughterhouse-Five from Republic High School in Republic, Missouri last year. Dalton, aside from being a board member of the library, has another connection to Vonnegut. He is a former assistant editor of the Saturday Evening Post, which published several of Vonnegut’s early short stories.
The idea came about as a result of the Republic challenge to Slaughterhouse-Five because although the school has since placed the book back in the library, it remains restricted in what some term a “literary gulag.” It was decided that Corey would put himself in lock up as a form of protest for the treatment that Vonnegut’s work has received in the Republic school.