Chocolat Author Says Books Should Carry Trigger Warnings

A contentious topic that has rocked the publishing business is the usage of trigger warnings.

Author Joanne Harris, however, is adamant about including them in all of her future works to make her readers feel “safe.”

To inform readers about potential hurtful content, the 59-year-old author of Chocolat has proposed that trigger warnings be included on the copyright page of all books.

As she put it, wheelchair ramps exist because some people need them, so a new policy about trigger warnings would make a lot of sense. She explained that even though not everyone needs them, those who do can utilize them or just use the stairs. She doesn’t waste time making fun of those who use the wheelchair ramp; it doesn’t diminish her experience in the slightest that some people don’t utilize the stairs.

No trigger warnings have been included in any of her publications so far, but she announced her intention to do so on X.

Harris said her website is updated to include content warnings for all her backlist novels. She will demand that her publishers do the same for all of her works going forward.

She said audiobooks might provide additional challenges because several things might set individuals off, and they may need to prioritize which ones are most likely to do so.

She said that she thought the alerts should be for things that make them feel unsafe rather than things people might disapprove of (such as profanity).

In the last several years, trigger warnings have been issued for reissues of works by writers including PG Wodehouse, Ian Fleming, Roald Dahl, and Virginia Woolf.

Several schools have also chosen to add their content warnings to student textbooks.

Stars like Matt Smith and Ralph Fiennes have spoken out against the use of potentially objectionable content warnings in advertisements for West End performances of Shakespeare’s plays.