Prison Literacy

2010 April 5
by Nicole Vadnais

Join us, Thursday, April 8 @ 6:00pm, at the Boston Athenaeum (10 1/2 Beacon Street)  for a panel discussion on the importance of ”Prison LIteracy.”

The panel will feature Jill McDonough, poet; Steven Spitzer, professor of Sociology, Suffolk University; Robert Waxler, professor of English, UMass Dartmouth; moderated by Jack Gantos, author.

JILL MCDONOUGH’s first book of poems, Habeas Corpus, was published by Salt Publishing in 2008.  She is the recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, Fine Arts Work Center, New Yori Public Library, and Stanford’s Stegner program.  McDonough has taught incarcerated college students through Boston University’s Prison Education program since 1999.  Her work appears in Slate and the Threepenny Review.

STEVEN SPITZER, Ph.D., professor of Sociology at Suffolk University in Boston, has served as an educator, researcher, and author in the fields of sociology and criminal justice for almost 40 years.  In the last decade, he has focused on thedevelopment of emotional literacy programs for men in county, state, and federal prisons.  He is founder of the Jericho Circle Project (JCP), a non-profit organization that helps incarcerated men “flip the script” and “rewrite” their lives.  Currently, he is completing a book on his work behind bars titled The Accidental Crucible: Healing Men in the Belly of the Beast.

ROBERT WAXLER, Ph.D.,  co-founded Changing Lives Through Literature (CLTL), a nationally recognized alternative sentencing program for criminal offenders that provides a series pf literature seminars.  He has served as Dean of the Division of Continuing Education, Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, and Chairperson of the English Department at the University of Massachussetts Dartmouth.  In addition to several books, he has co-authored Success Stories: Life Skills Through Literature, published by the U.S. Department of Education, and co-edited Changing LIves Through Literature, an anthology from Notre Dame Press.

JACK GANTOS is the author of over forty books for young readers.  His books range from the “Rotten Ralph” picture book series, to the National Book Award and Newbury Honor Award winning “Joey Pigza” series, to his prison memoir, Hole in My LIfe, which received a Printz and Seibert Honor for outstanding young adult literature.  He taught Literature and Creative Writing at Emerson College for twenty years before resigning his position to become a frequent visitor of the Boston Athenaeum.

For reservations, please call 617-720-7600.

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