Readings from the 2022 PEN America Prison Writing Awards Anthology
This Week on The Literary Life with Mitchell Kaplan
On this edition of The Literary Life, an evening of readings at Books and Books from the 2022 Prison Writing Awards Anthology. The evening was sponsored by PEN America’s Prison and Justice Writing Program along with Exchange for Change, a Miami-based organization whose mission is as follows: “We believe in the value of every voice, and we give our students an opportunity to express themselves without the fear of being stigmatized. When everyone has the ability to listen and be heard, strong and safe communities are formed. With a pen and paper, incarcerated students can become agents of social change across different communities in ways they may otherwise have never encountered.”
I dare anyone to hear these voices and not be moved and helping them find an audience is among the most gratifying missions I have as a bookseller.
From the episode:
We’re very happy to have with us Variations on an Undisclosed Location, the 2022 PEN America Prison Writing Awards Anthology. This fifth annual PEN America Prison Writing Awards anthology represents the indispensable archive of the creativity and intellect of incarcerated writers.
It also exists simultaneously as a vehicle of connection with the world and other incarcerated writers across the country in a day and age of digitalization and short attention spans, the physical presence of this book serves to confront the reader with the human writers who have contributed their stories and hearts to the work within. Several poignant themes are masterfully represented in this work, ranging from the criminalization of homelessness to meta-analysis to what it takes to win writing contests from behind the walls.
Writers weave a tapestry from diverse backgrounds, identities, and locales across poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and drama. Our event collaborators tonight are the PEN America Prison and Justice Writing program, PEN Across America Miami/South Florida, Books and Books of course, and the Exchange for Change.Rea