May 13, 2022 - Things to Do

American Writers Festival this Sunday

Courtesy of the American Writers Museum

Some of the nation's top literary talents will speak Sunday at the Chicago Cultural Center as part of the American Writers Festival.

  • The free event offers an incredible opportunity to hear writers talk about the topics they care about.

Driving the news: Caits Meissner, who edited the new book "The Sentences That Create Us: Crafting a Writer’s Life in Prison," is being interviewed Sunday at 1pm.

  • It's a guide to help incarcerated people develop writing careers through insights from 50 writers, many of whom were formerly in the prison system.

📖 We caught up with Meissner this week to discuss the book and festival.

Biggest surprises while editing the book: "How often the act of writing has literally helped people get out of prison. … Three of the contributors, each of whom spent decades in prison, are now home."

Why these voices matter: "If we want to understand the impact of prison on individuals and communities, firsthand accounts are going to be critical to penetrating the opacity of prisons."

Hopes for readers: "Readers with justice involvement will have the benefit of seeing their stories, struggles and inspiring solutions reflected in the pages. A more general readership will find it a critical book on the craft of writing."

  • "I hope readers on both sides of the wall are inspired to unlock their own creative and personal liberation, while grasping the crushing nature of America's penal system."

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