Metro Weekly

DC Public Library toasts Banned Books Week with a cocktail party

DC Public Library Foundation's Banned Books Week cocktail party is a celebration of free expression

Banned Books

“Uncensored Underground is our celebration at the end of Banned Books Week,” says Linnea Hegarty, executive director of the DC Public Library Foundation, which hosts the event. “It is a party celebrating banned books, and the freedom to read, express, and create.”

On Sept. 30, lovers of literature and the First Amendment will have a chance to raise a glass to their favorite books as they commemorate Banned Books Week. Now in its fourth year, the annual cocktail party is designed to celebrate those books that have been banned or challenged by censors, from the politically-motivated to the prudish, for a host of reasons.

For the party, which brings in about 400 guests each year, the DC Public Library Foundation brings in some of D.C.’s top bartenders and mixologists to create cocktails based on their favorite book. Given this year’s theme of “Texts Against Tyranny,” expect concoctions that allude to some of the most well-known dystopian novels, such as Brave New World, Fahrenheit 451, Nineteen Eighty-Four, The Giver, and The Handmaid’s Tale.

Tickets to the event costs $50 per person. Attendees can also purchase a host ticket package for $250, which includes four tickets and what Hegarty promises will be an “awesome gift bag.”

“Banned Books Week is an international celebration that’s put on by book sellers and libraries across the world,” she says. “The purpose of it is to highlight the fact that, even in the U.S., banning and challenging books is still happening, and to celebrate the freedom we have to read the books we want to read.

“It’s in part a cautionary tale. I think people often assume it doesn’t happen here, but it does in schools and school libraries,” she adds. “I think we’re lucky in Washington that we live in a very literate and progressive city. I think it’s important for the people who live here, many of whom are in positions of power, to really think about it.”

Uncensored Underground: The Cocktail Party is on Saturday, Sept. 30 from 7-11 p.m. at Dupont Underground, 19 Dupont Circle, NW. For tickets or more information, visit

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