R188. Bringing Creative Writing to Prisons

Room 13, Tampa Convention Center, First Floor
Thursday, March 8, 2018
12:00 pm to 1:15 pm


This panel will feature a discussion between fiction writers Deb Olin Unferth, Mitchell S. Jackson, and Zachary Lazar about their experiences with the teaching and practice of creative writing in prisons. What are the particular challenges, obstacles, and possibilities for writers and teachers in a prison setting? What is the value of creative writing in prisons and what are the logistical problems involved in setting up and sustaining a writing program in a correctional facility?


Zachary Lazar is the author of four books, most recently the novel I Pity the Poor Immigrant, a New York Times Notable Book of 2014. His honors include a Guggenheim Fellowship and the John Updike Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He teaches at Tulane University.

Deb Olin Unferth is the author of five books, including Wait Till You See Me Dance. Her work appears in Harper's, The Paris Review, Tin House, Vice, and Granta. She received four Pushcart Prizes, a Creative Capital Grant, and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award.

Mitchell S. Jackson’s debut novel The Residue Years won a Whiting Award and the Ernest J. Gaines Prize for Literary Excellence. It was also a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award, The Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel prize, and the Hurston Wright Legacy award.


March 7–10, 2018
Tampa, FL

Tampa Convention Center & Marriott Tampa Waterside