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Bestselling author takes ‘Loudmouth’ stand against censorship with new bookstore

Loudmouth Books

(Video filmed and edited by Leah Trib Productions)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Bestselling author Leah Johnson, known for “You Should See Me in a Crown” and other works, is set to open Loudmouth Books, a new independent bookstore in Indianapolis, in response to growing concerns about censorship in literature.

The grand opening will be Saturday in alignment with the Banned Books Week observance, which is Sunday through Oct. 7.

Johnson has financed the bookstore using proceeds from her book royalties and funds raised through a GoFundMe campaign, which exceeded its $10,000 goal, amassing $16,570.

Leah Johnson stocking inventory ahead of their Sept. 30, 2023 Loudmouth Books opening. (Provided Photo)

This endeavor will aim to provide a haven for marginalized voices and controversial literature amid a climate of increasing literary restrictions.

The store’s establishment came in response to the legislative landscape in Indiana, including the contentious new Indiana law that particularly impacts books with LGBTQ+ themes.

Johnson’s aim will be to empower readers by ensuring access to books that portray a range of human experiences, even those deemed too controversial by some.

Beyond offering a platform for banned literature, Loudmouth Books will conduct monthly events, including “Clear the Shelves” to provide free books to young readers.

While Leah Johnson acknowledged her limited experience in bookselling, she has said she is determined to make Loudmouth Books a thriving literary destination. She has sought guidance from industry experts, including CEO Andy Hunter, and has received encouragement from local indie booksellers.

Johnson and author John Green outside Loudmouth Books on Sept. 19, 2023, when Green signed copies of his books. (Provided Photo)

The bookstore was designed to serve as a testament to Johnson’s passion for literature, promoting inclusivity and defending the freedom to read. It’s also seen as a response to the current challenges faced by authors whose works reflect the experiences of multicultural communities.

Loudmouth Books will occupy a space at 212 E. 16th St., which is east of Delaware Street. Its grand opening will from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday. Additionally, award-winning author Julian Winters will host a book-signing session from noon-1 p.m. during the opening.

Shop the large collection of books, in addition to an array of small gifts such as mugs, enamel pins, pop culture prayer candles by local candlemaker Shisha Candles, puzzles, tote bags, and more in Indy’s Herron-Morton Place neighborhood.

(Provided Photos and Image)