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PEN America Announces Writing for Justice Fellows

Jonah Mixon-Webster

PEN America has announed their 2019-2020 Writing for Justice Fellows. These fellowships commission written works of lasting merit that illuminate critical issues related to mass incarceration and catalyze public debate.

The eight fellows will be individually paired with a member of the Advisory Board for work on a specific project.

Proposed projects include a book-length collection of essays that elucidate the foster-care-to-prison pipeline (Arthur Longworth); an immersive documentary poetics program that explores procedural relations between police officers and civilians in 21st century America (Jonah Mixon-Webster); and a project to include narrative journalism and data collection/analysis and investigative techniques to report on the structural, historic, cultural, and legal forces behind the criminalization of women’s defense and survival from abuse (Justine van der Leun).

For a complete list of fellows, their projects, and Advisory Board mentors, click here.

What is the Writing for Justice Fellowship?

The Fellowship aims to harness the power of writers and writing in bearing witness to the societal consequences of mass incarceration by capturing and sharing the stories of incarcerated individuals, their families, communities, and the wider impact of the criminal justice system. Our goal is to ignite a broad, sustained conversation about the dangers of over-incarceration and the imperative to mobilize behind rational and humane policies. As an organization of writers dedicated to promoting free expression and informed discourse, PEN America is honored to have been entrusted by the Art for Justice Fund to engage the literary community in addressing this pressing societal issue.

Founded in 1922, PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect free expression in the United States and worldwide. They champion the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Their mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible.

One of many PEN America includes a “Writing for Prison & Justice” program that amplifies “the writing of thousands of imprisoned writers by providing free resources, skilled mentors, and audiences for their writing.” PEN America also offers an affordable Handbook for Writers in Prison, which you can purchase here.

Subscribe to their e-newsletter and follow them on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for updates on the next PEN America Writing for Justice Fellowship.