Works of Justice is an internet collection that functions content material connected to the PEN America Prison and Justice Writing Program, reflecting on the connection between writing and incarceration, and supplying tough conversations about criminal justice inside the United States.
What risks do incarcerated writers face whilst their words tour past prison partitions? And how do audiences of their work examine, honor, and endure witness without assuming voyeuristic or exploitative views? The PEN America Prison Writing Program commissioned currently incarcerated writers to mirror on those and other tensions between the world of public readership and the regularly hidden innovative lifestyles in prison for the 2019 World Voices Festival.
Download our application publication, which capabilities excerpts of the written paintings and author bios, and scroll beneath to watch dynamic authors, poets, activists, and actors carry the writers’ messages to lifestyles at the level. The following motion pictures characteristic readers Mahogany L. Browne, Aja Monet, Jon Sands, Christopher Soto, Kirya Traber, and Jeconiah Vinson.
Keep scrolling for method notes detailing how we introduced this revel into lifestyles.
Every 12 months PEN America produces the World Voices Festival, per week-lengthy celebration of literature from round the sector. For their fifteenth anniversary party, the World Voices Festival has taken at the pressing theme of Open Secrets, an exploration of the dissolving boundary among the general public and the non-public in our literature, our politics, and our daily lives. Immediately we identified the approaches in which our work is in conversation with this theme. We started to ask questions—What dangers do incarcerate writers face while their words tour beyond prison walls? And how do audiences in their paintings read, honor, and endure witness without assuming voyeuristic or exploitative views? For over a decade, the Prison Writing Program has contributed a Festival event that highlights the work of writers in our application—commonly, sourced from the award-prevailing paintings in our Prison Writing Contest documents. This yr, we determined to attempt a brand new method to our content material curation: commissioning authentic works from some of the most lively writers in our network to reflect on those and different tensions among the world of public readership and the often hidden creative lifestyles in prison. Our manner: We despatched letters to a short listing of names, with an invite that provided a chain of writing prompts:
Why is it essential to have an audience in your work—specially speaking to an audience internal and/or outdoor of prison?
Why is it essential to have readers or witnesses to our personal narratives?
What is the line between voyeurism and witnessing?
What are your fears while humans from the outside study your paintings? Any advice on what audiences must bring to the studying? What to place apart while reading?
Writing in prison can regularly be exposing. How do you deal with the heightened threat of writing while incarcerated?
How has being incarcerated affected your writing rituals or style? Does much less privateness in dwelling area affect creative expression?
People frequently remember the Internet and social media an increasing public sphere (though one that can largely be managed.) With get admission to to social media, what might you/may want to you do which you can’t now? Critiques? Ideas we would keep in mind in our utilization?
Lastly, we wrote, we also are open to other interpretations of this spark off, and invite creativity.
The array of writings captured on video, and excerpted within the program e book, echo and confirm the shared experience of writers in prison—considered one of systemic barriers, censorship, and the non-public risk, bravery, and relentless dedication it takes to attain a public readership. The writings additionally offer, of a path, a huge spectrum of man or woman vulnerabilities, particular voice, and willpower to diverse styles of artistry and craft.
We had been grateful to show off the work in the succesful arms of our creator/activist performers on May 9, 2019, on the People’s Forum, and invited our target market to respond with thoughts, emotions, and revelations that get up via the index cards for your chair. The feedback have been despatched back to our writers—one of the many approaches we push in opposition to the wall that separates our worlds—offering a taste of what happened within the room back to the writers who couldn’t be with us.