Break Out: PEN America Celebrates Prison Writing Awards and New Anthology
PEN America celebrated the winners of its 2022 Prison Writing Awards as it launched the new anthology, Variations on an Undisclosed Location, with an event at the Brooklyn Public Library.
Reading the work at the Dec. 2 event were actor Asia Kate Dillon, model Kara Young, performance artist Linda La, poet José Olivarez, Rehabilitation Through the Arts members Jermaine Archer, Dario Peña, and Tyrone Taylor, and Caits Meissner, Director of PEN America’s Prison Writing Program, and Robert Pollock, Prison Writing Program Manager.
Readings included poetry winner Alex Tretbar’s “Variations on an Undisclosed Location,” which gave the anthology its name.
Also included in the program:
- David A. Pickett – “Lightning Rods”
- Rahsaan “New York” Thomas – “Silent Treatment”
- Elizabeth Hawes – “Pain Management”
- C. Fausto Cabrera – “When Kneaded”
- Lyle C. May – “Y’all Aint Here To Be Rehabilitated”
- Wintersun Lemieux – “A Fable for Leann”
- Burl N. Corbett – “Officer Sam Doesn’t Work Here, Anymore”
- Chad H. Rand – “Litany in Pairs”
- Tsunami Caryl-Averlyn – “Co-Ed“
- Frank Kensaku Saragosa – “Life. In Pieces”
- Geneva Phillips – “The Hard Part”
- John Corley – “First Night“
The evening was livestreamed on Brooklyn Public Library’s YouTube channel, and released writers and currently incarcerated writers’ family members were able to tune in.
“When we present the work of incarcerated writers, we want to weave in as much of the author’s voice and presence as possible,” said Robert Pollock, Prison Writing Program Manager. The team reached out to winning writers to ask what visuals they might picture as a backdrop, and projected them on the screen.
PEN America partnered on the event with Brooklyn Public Library, Rehabilitation Through the Arts, and Die Jim Crow Records.