Interview with Deb Olin Unferth about Pen City Writers



jab all and Unferth and i am a creative writing professor we meant to talk about your book that came out about a project in and I wanted to ask you how to pronounce the the location institution upon the title Oh Connolly yeah okay yeah and that is a part of a prison it's um so the prisons in Texas are all like different locations and they each have their own names or just two called blankie unit so this is a Connolly unit I used to teach at a maximum-security prison in Connecticut and through the center for prison education which is attached to Wesleyan University which is where I used to teach and then when I came here I really wanted to do I wanted to continue that because I really liked it a lot and so I came here and I thought I would teach in the prison program but it turns out that there wasn't the prison program I met with I met with an activist who used to be an inmate and now he does various kinds of initiatives for people who are leaving prison are currently in prison and he told me because I was like I think I'll just go to the local jail and do a workshop and he said don't don't go as Austin jail because they're so over-serve they've got so many workshops with so much programming and he said why don't you go to one that's way out in the middle of nowhere that no one goes to like a maximum-security prison well my dad got very involved in prison advocacy years and years ago a long time ago and I was already not living at home at that point if I kind of miss out on it all but I kept I was always really interested so I want to come home you know he would talk about it and then my and then my mom and my brother also got pretty involved so everybody was sort of pretty involved before me and I always kind of felt bad about that and then so then when I had the opportunity when I got the job at Wesleyan when I got the offer I looked I was looking around on the website to try to decide if I wanted to take the job if I already had a job that I really liked and they had this great person program and that was a real plus I was very excited it's just I guess like I just I really believe in the power of Education to change lives so I I feel like writing and reading it teaches us a–they like helps you learn how to think it it just you can use it in anything you do like no matter who you are no matter what you wind up doing with your life I mean if you can if you can read and write you will advance and I feel also like what they say is important I mean I don't think I think that the prison system is a mess in this country and I think that valuable precious lives are being just thrown away in prison and I think they have a lot to say and so for that reason I really want to try to do whatever I can yeah I give them exercises that they have to do and they write so they write they do a lot of exercises and they do longer pieces so I do things like describe the light in my room any room you've actually been in you know or yeah I have I gave them one exercise it was important instructions and then they had to just go from the inner and the some of the short ones is good because I mean it just comes they just come up with really amazing things on one of them was write a story about leaving I think and so I think it's a second story in there so he wrote about leaving being in being in an old police car and leaving the courtroom after having just gotten his sentence you know which was some insane sentence like 50 years or something and so just walked leaving his town for the last time and like watching watching out the window and knowing he'll never see any of this again because he was already old enough that you know he's not going to probably make it out

1 thought on “Interview with Deb Olin Unferth about Pen City Writers

  1. Jason. ,Mr.Slinky" stab my Friend to death…wont admit it…so in his sentencing. He got 50 years and is forbidden from ever coming back to SA..He murdered a 15 year old on his birthday…So in 2045. Happy New Year 2019…26 more years.till …

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