Headshots of Madeleine L’Engle and Ahmad Rahman on upper left and bottom right corners

Named for the late acclaimed author Madeleine L’Engle and her 10-year written friendship with scholar, writer and former Black Party leader Ahmad Rahman, the PEN America/L’Engle Rahman Prize for Mentorship honors four mentor/mentee pairs in PEN America’s longstanding prison writing mentorship program, which links established writers with those currently incarcerated.

The prize was generously endowed by L’Engle’s family and memorializes L’Engle’s participation as one of the program’s very first mentors, along with Rahman’s extraordinary journey from serving 21 years in prison—framed in an FBI sting of the Panthers—to celebrated and beloved assistant professor of African and African-American History at the University of Michigan-Dearborn. The pair began writing in the early 1970s, establishing a rigorous working rapport that informed both of their works.

Read this poignant essay to learn more about the history of this incredible partnership »

Watch a captivating performance of L’Engle and Rahman’s letters, edited and staged by L’Engle’s granddaughter Charlotte Jones Voiklis and actor Eric Berryman: