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The Sentences That Create Us: Writing Through and Beyond Prison
March 19, 2022 @ 3:15 pm–4:30 pm
Join PEN America for an intimate conversation with, Deb Olin Unferth, Randall Horton, and Caits Meissner as they explore writing’s power to facilitate a creative life during and after prison, and what those of us on the outside can learn from writers who have either experienced or are currently involved in America’s injustice system, through the lens of their recently released books.
The Sentences That Create Us, edited by Caits Meissner – PEN America’s Director of Prison and Justice Writing – is an anthology of original essays from more than fifty contributors, including Horton, that provides a road map for incarcerated people and their allies to have a thriving writing life behind bars and shared beyond them. Randall Horton’s recently released memoir Dead Weight chronicles the improbable turnaround of a drug smuggler who, after being sentenced to eight years in state prison, returned to society to earn a Ph.D. in creative writing and become the only tenured professor in the United States with seven felony convictions. Horton’s visceral essays highlight the difficulties of trying to change one’s life for the better, how the weight of felony convictions never dissipates. Deb Olin Unferth is the director of the Pen City Writers, a prison creative writing and arts program at the John B. Connally Unit penitentiary in south Texas, and the author of six books, including the novel Barn 8.
Location: SMU Dallas Hall 115