The Eleanor Roosevelt Award for Bravery in Literature

December 16, 2023

Live discussion at the Fisher Center at Bard with authors who have been honored with the Eleanor Roosevelt Award for Bravery in Literature. Come celebrate intellectual freedom and speak out against banned books. Tickets will be available soon through the Fisher box office. 

The Award

The award honors, protects and elevates important works of literature that advance human rights, even in the face of adversity.


Authors will be presented with awards at our first annual awards ceremony each for a work of literature vital to our culture, which has experienced challenges and banning by local governments or school boards.

Why Now?

  • We are living in a time with more books than ever before in U.S. history being banned. Last year represented the year with the most government censorship of books
  • We are holding our awards ceremony during the 75th anniversary of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights, which Eleanor led the drafting of as Chairperson of the drafting committee. Article 19 of the UDHR speaks to the “freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”

Why Eleanor?

  • Eleanor was a fierce, vocal and influential advocate for human rights, civil rights and democracy.
  • Her work lives on today inspiring a new generation to use their voice to protect and advance the rights of those who have been marginalized and oppressed.
  • Eleanor Roosvelt was a prolific author in her own right, authoring 27 books in her lifetime.

How will the Award Help?

  • We are working with libraries, free speech organizations, educational institutions, and advocates to ensure that our award helps add more oversight in the censorship battle.
  • As a household name, the Eleanor Roosevelt seal, will help notify would be challengers that these authors are not alone in the fight to protect freedom of expression and these works in particular

The Award Show

Authors will be invited to attend the award ceremony at the Fisher Center at Bard to receive their awards, with authors’ reflections and lively Q&A.

Eleanor Roosevelt: Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Article 18 Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.