(NEW YORK)— Actor Kalyne Coleman, who appeared in the AMC gothic horror television drama Interview with a Vampire and on Broadway in JaJa’s African Hair Braiding, and prize-winning author Hugh Ryan will be among the notable artist and author presenters at PEN America’s Break Out event on Wed., Dec. 6 celebrating the launch of the annual anthology Thank the Bloom: 2023 PEN Prison Writing Awards.

Break Out is an annual community-centered staging of compelling cross-genre literary works by incarcerated writers. The selection of readings from the anthology will be performed by a dynamic cadre of presenters. Besides Coleman and Ryan, they are: poet/professor Suzanne Gardinier, poet/advocate José A. Pérez, and writer/activist Mario Finesse Wright.

Ryan’s book, The Woman’s House of Detention: A Queer History of a Forgotten Prison, won the 2023 Stonewall Book Award/Israel Fishman Award for Nonfiction from the Publishing Triangle of the American Library Association and the 2022 Warren Johansson Award from the W.A. Percy Foundation.

Initiated in response to the 1972 Attica Prison Riots, the PEN Prison Writing Awards recognize the extraordinary literary talent produced in prisons across the United States. Each year, hundreds of writers submit poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and dramatic works to one of the longest-running outlets for free expression for the country’s incarcerated population. Read the full list of this year’s winners here.

Pre-order the anthology here.

Break Out is free and open to the public. Pre-register here.  ASL interpretation will be provided.

About PEN America

PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect open expression in the United States and worldwide. We champion the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Our mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible.

Contact: Suzanne Trimel, [email protected], 201-247-5057