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Break Out: The Writing of Incarcerated Writers from South Florida

PEN America Presents Break Out: Miami

PEN America’s Prison and Justice Writing and Exchange for Change partnered with Books & Books to present Break Out: The Writing of Incarcerated Writers from South Florida, a dynamic reading of plays, poems, and short stories from the 2022 Prison Writing Awards Anthology.

Featuring readings by Scott Cunningham, Edwidge Danticat, Vanessa Garcia, award-winner Ryan Moser, and Darren (DT) Tinker, this event highlighted the work of incarcerated writers from South Florida.

This event was free and open to the public. 

Break Out: The Writing of Incarcerated Writers from South Florida

Exchange for Change offers educational and communication skills-building courses to incarcerated students to amplify and bring their voices to the outside.

About the readers

P. Scott Cunningham is a poet and essayist originally from Boca Raton, FL. He is the author of Ya Te Veo (University of Arkansas Press, 2018), selected by Billy Collins for the Miller Williams Poetry Series. His writing has appeared in The Nation, The Awl, Harvard Review, American Poetry Review, POETRY, Gulf Coast, A Public Space, The Rumpus, Tupelo Quarterly, Monocle, RHINO, The Guardian, 68to05, American Way, and others. His translations of Alejandra Pizarnik, César Vallejo, and Frank Báez have appeared in Omniglots, H.O.W. Journal, Waxwing, and The Miami Rail.

Edwidge Danticat is the author of several books, including Breath, Eyes, Memory, an Oprah Book Club selection, Krik? Krak!, a National Book Award finalist, The Farming of Bones, The Dew Breaker, Brother, I’m Dying, Create Dangerously, Claire of the Sea Light, The Art of Death, and Everything Inside, a Reese’s Book Club selection, and National Book Critics Circle Awards winner. She is also the editor of The Butterfly’s Way: Voices from the Haitian Dyasporain the United States, Best American Essays 2011, Haiti Noir, andHaiti Noir 2. She has written seven books for children and young adults, Anacaona, Behind the Mountains, Eight Days, The Last Mapou, Mama’s Nightingale, Untwine, My Mommy Medicine, as well as a travel narrative, After the Dance. Her memoir, Brother, I’m Dying, was a 2007 finalist for the National Book Award, and a 2008 winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for autobiography. She is a 2009 MacArthur fellow, a 2018 Ford Foundation “Art of Change” fellow, a United States Artists Fellow, a two-time winner of The Story Prize, the winner of the 2018 Neustadt International Prize, the 2019 St. Louis Literary Award, and the 2020 Vilcek Prize for Literature.

Vanessa Garcia is a Cuban-American multidisciplinary writer — screenwriter, playwright, novelist, and journalist/essayist — who has written and worked for Sesame Street, Caillou, and other shows. She’s the author of the novel, White Light, which won an International Latino Book Award and was one of NPRs best books of 2015. Her first Picture Book for children, What the Bread Says, launched October 1, 2022. Theatrically, she’s the author of The Amparo Experience, an immersive hit that People en Español called “Miami’s Hottest Ticket.” Other plays include: Sweet Goats & Blueberry Señoritas, which she co-wrote with Richard Blanco. Her journalism, essays and thought pieces have appeared in The LA Times, The Guardian, The Washington Post, National Review, ESPN, The Hill, Catapult, Narrativel.ly, and numerous other publications.  She holds a PhD from the University of California Irvine in Creative Nonfiction. Her dissertation focused on Cuba. 

Ryan M. Moser is a writer formerly incarcerated in Florida. His work has been published in the Evening Street Review, Storyteller, Santa Fe Literary Review, The Progressive, The Marshall Project, Medium, The Wild Word, The Startup, and more. In 2020, his essay, “Injuries Incompatible with Life” received an Honorable Mention award from PEN America.

Darren Tinker (DT) is a public speaker and writer who found his passions behind bars. After being both falsely accused and wrongfully incarcerated for over three years, Darren has made it his goal to become an activist for prison education and change. By speaking at universities and events such as Florida International University (FIU), University of Miami (UM), and The Miami Book Fair, he hopes to help people see the importance and significant impact of programs like Exchange for Change.

This project was made possible by:

PEN America Miami/South Florida Chapter logo Exchange for Change logo