S198. Reading and Writing the Body Free: Literature as a Subversive Force in Prison

Room 25, Tampa Convention Center, First Floor
Saturday, March 10, 2018
12:00 pm to 1:15 pm


How can literature and storytelling offer a means to interrogate, resist, speak to, and speak back to mass incarceration? What transformative possibilities occur when people inside correctional facilities are given tools to speak, to control their narrative and define themselves outside their immediate circumstances? In what ways does reading and writing set bodies free, as well as offer those of us on the outside opportunities to witness?


Karen Smyte, President of Children's Literacy Network, records incarcerated mothers and grandmothers reading stories to their children. Chapters from her current novel-in-progress have been performed at Selected Shorts at Symphony Space and awarded 2nd place in the 2016 Bridport Prize.

Roger Bonair-Agard is author of three collections of poems, most recent of which won the Soc of Midland Authors Award 2013, and was longlisted for the Nationall Book Award. He teaches creative writing with Free Write Jail Arts & Literacy Program at the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center in Chicago.

Randall Horton is the author of three collections of poetry and most recently, Hook: A Memoir. He is a member of the experimental performance group: Heroes Are Gang Leaders and associate professor of English at the University of New Haven.

Angel Pantoja has pursued his education through nontraditional means. A former participant of Free Write Arts & Literacy Program, he now serves as alumni coordinator, teaching artist, and board member. His goal, empower communities to become the authors of their own lives through writing/poetry.


March 7–10, 2018
Tampa, FL

Tampa Convention Center & Marriott Tampa Waterside