An unburnable book to support freedom of expression

An unburnable book to support freedom of expression

An unburnable edition of Margaret Atwood’s book The Handmaid’s Tale has been auctioned for USD 130,000, auction house Sotheby’s announced. The Canadian author agreed to make the very special edition of her book to raise awareness about books that are not allowed to be used at schools in the US and to raise money to support PEN America advocating worldwide freedom of expression.

Atwood´s book is about a totalitarian society ruled by a fundamentalist regime treating women as state property. An environmental disaster is causing infertility.

Proceeds will be donated to PEN America. The 384-page book consists mainly of Cinefoil, a specially treated aluminium product, and was announced last month at PEN’s annual fundraising gala.

To help promote the initiative, Atwood agreed to be filmed attempting – unsuccessfully – to destroy a prototype with a flame thrower.

All materials were tested by fire during manufacturing to validate fireproof specifications.

”To raise awareness about the proliferating book banning and educational gag orders in American schools nationwide, and to raise money to support PEN America’s crucial work to counter this national crisis of censorship, Margaret Atwood and Penguin Random House have partnered with the creative agency Rethink to make The Unburnable Book, a fireproof edition of Atwood’s prescient—and often banned—book The Handmaid’s Tale, featuring the iconic Handmaid imagery by designer Noma Bar”, Sotheby´s said in its description of the book.

This single-copy special edition of The Handmaid’s Tale was produced in Toronto by the graphic arts specialty and bookbinding atelier The Gas Company Inc.

PEN America recently published report “Banned in the USA,” documenting 1,586 instances of individual books being banned, in 86 school districts in 26 states.

”This censorship tramples on students’ First Amendment rights, undermines education, restricts the flow of ideas, and entails a widening form of erasure that is doing real damage to people and livelihoods.”

 

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