Church offering class on literature banned by Fremont school board

A free book club that will focus on critically acclaimed literature banned by the Fremont school board is scheduled to begin Wednesday night at an Irvington district church.

Since 2008, the five-member board has banned “Bastard Out of Carolina,” a National Book Award nominee about a teenage girl sexually abused by her stepfather, and last year it rejected “Angels in America,” a Pulitzer Prize-winning play about AIDS in the 1980s.

In response to the censorship, Mission Peak Unitarian Universalist Congregation hired Teri Hu — a Washington High teacher who tried unsuccessfully to add those books to the school’s AP English supplemental reading list — to lead the new monthly club.

The eight-part course is open to the public, including Fremont students, said the Rev. Jeremy Nickel, the church’s minister. Copies of the censored books will be on sale at the sessions, and some free copies will be provided to those who cannot afford to purchase them, Nickel said.

The course will ask participants to complete assigned reading that they will discuss at a monthly meeting. The first session is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. in Cole Hall, next to the Fremont church at 2950 Washington Blvd., Nickel said.

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Chris DeBenedetti