Doing Time: For the prison writers whose work is included in this anthology, it means more than "serving a sentence"; it means staying alive and sane, preserving dignity, reinventing oneself, and somehow retaining one's humanity. For the last quarter century the prestigious writers' organization PEN has sponsored a contest for writers behind bars to help prisoners face these challenges. The contest honors the best short stories, plays, essays, and poems among hundreds submitted annually by men and women nationwide. Bell Chevigny, a writer herself and a former prison teacher, has selected the best of these to create Doing Time - a timely, beautiful, sometimes devastating, but vital work, which demonstrates resoundingly that prison writing is a vibrant branch of American literature.
Over the past several decades, our prison system has gone from a concerted effort of rehabilitation to a gross practice of prisoner abuse and warehousing. And because of this shift, there is no better time than now to listen to Doing Time: 25 Years of Prison Writing. Assembled by the international writers' organization PEN and performed passionately by veteran narrators Bernard Setaro Clark and Shay Moore, this audiobook is a valuable and rare look inside the prison walls. Included here are short stories, plays, essays, and poems that make up the best of hundreds of submissions PEN has received over the past 25 years.
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I recently have found myself writing to someone incarcerated and thought I would listen to this collection of poems and stories written by the incarcerated. I knew there would be some interesting and compelling stories but I was absolutely floored by some of the writing. Really excellent. And the way it was strung together and narrated only added to the experience. I was so sad when it came to an end!
- Red Emma