Virtual Book Club: Felon by Reginald Dwayne Betts

September 8, 2020

Virtual Book Club returns this September, featuring Reginald Dwayne Betts and his poetry collection Felon, winner of a 2020 NAACP Image Award. Kiese Laymon, author of Heavy, writes, “Betts has written the twenty-first-century book that will dictate how freedom, power and consequence are written about until the sun says enough.”

Pick up your copy, read along with us, and participate in ongoing discussions in the AWP Community of Writers Facebook group. Connect with other readers and respond to book club questions posted weekly within the group. Short videos of Betts’ responses to questions about the writer’s life will also air across all AWP social media platforms.

On Thursday, September 24 at 6:00 p.m. ET, we will premiere Reginald Dwayne Betts’ interview, conducted by Sheila Black, AWP Director of Development. The two will discuss Felon and The Million Book Project, Betts’ ongoing initiative to distribute Freedom Libraries, a curated 500-book collection, to 1,000 prisons in the United States and Puerto Rico.

This premiere will also include a live Q&A on YouTube. To join the conversation, receive a reminder, and get a direct link to this free event, register online.

*Registering is free, and you do not have to be a member of AWP to do so. However, to participate in the live Q&A, you must be signed into YouTube.

Purchase the Book

To purchase Felon, visit the AWP & affiliate website.

About Felon

Felon, published by Norton in 2019, won a 2020 NAACP Image Award and was a finalist for the 2020 LA Times Book Award. The book was reviewed by Carolyn Forché in the The New York Times and Dan Chiasson in The New Yorker. More information about Felon, including interviews and links to other commentary and critical praise, can be found on Reginald Dwayne Betts’ website

About the Author

Reginald Dwayne Betts is a poet and lawyer. He is the director of The Million Book Project, an initiative out of the Yale Law School’s Justice Collaboratory to radically transform access to literature in prisons. For more than twenty years, Betts has used his poetry and essays to explore the world of prison and the effects of violence and incarceration on American society. He is the author of a memoir and three collections of poetry. His latest collection, Felon, explores the post incarceration experience and the lingering consequences of a criminal record. In 2019, Betts won the National Magazine Award in the Essays and Criticism category for his The New York Times Magazine essay that chronicles his journey from prisoner to licensed attorney. He holds a J.D. from Yale Law School and is a 2018 Guggenheim Fellow and 2018 Emerson Fellow at New America.

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