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Incarcerated Writers Seek “Pen Pal” Tutors

© Morgan Harrell

Our Mission Statement says “(t)he North Carolina Writers’ Network believes that writing is necessary both for self-expression and a healthy community, that well-written words can connect people across time and distance, and that the deeply satisfying experiences of writing and reading should be available to everyone.”

And we mean it.

Every year we receive handwritten letters from persons incarcerated in our state, asking us for help with their writing. One way or another, they have found an outlet in creative writing. They want to tell their stories, share their experiences, explain themselves to themselves and to others. They recognize that they need instruction, direction, and a helping hand.

Many of the services that once could have helped these writers no longer exist. In their absence, the Network would like to provide these incarcerated writers with “pen pal” writing tutors—experienced writers who would be willing and able to share advice, ideas, and encouragement through ongoing correspondence.

If you’re interested in helping a fellow writer in this way, please contact Ed Southern at and let him know. He will send you the name and address of one of the incarcerated writers who contact the Network. You will be able to initiate and conduct the correspondence on your own terms, and share as much or as little information as you’d like.

You need only provide writing tips and encouragement, the very things that all writers need, whatever their circumstances.