FW: 60 Minutes Segment re: Wally Lamb's writing workshop, book, lawsuit, awards, etc.
Thought I’d send this along. It’s from one of our counselors who has been very active with our prison program. I know that many of y’all are involved in similar programs and might find this of interest. -- Dianne
From: Birkla, Nancy A (Jefferson)
Sent: Wednesday, May 05, 2004 3:28 PM
To: Birkla, Nancy A (Jefferson)
Subject: 60 Minutes Segment re: Wally Lamb's writing workshop, book, lawsuit, awards, etc.
Please forgive this info being sent in bulk form; time just doesn’t allow for otherwise.
If you are receiving this e-mail, then you already know something about the prison education project I’ve been involved with over the past three years (w/my cousin, author Wally Lamb) and the publication of our book last January.
Recently the controversy over the book, the state of CT’s (insane) lawsuit against the contributors to the book, etc. all came to a head when first the book won a couple of awards and then one of the book’s still-incarcerated contributors won a prestigious PEN Award for Freedom of Expression. All hell broke loose, as they say, over the prison’s knee-jerk reaction, which included shutting down the writing workshop, barring Wally from communicating with any of his students, transferring the other instructor to different prison, and worst of all ordering purging of the workshop’s computers of all writings the inmates had worked on over the past 5 years.
The short version of what ensued is an outpouring of outrage and support (international, as a matter of fact), with the 60 Minutes cameras rolling through the entire course of events that concluded with an amazingly comprehensive victory for us, and for prison education/rehabilitation in general (which feels to me like just about the most exciting thing I’ve ever experienced).
I’m attaching two press releases from the PEN/American Center concerning some of what happened.
Additionally, the 60 Minutes segment is scheduled to air this Sunday evening, May 9th, at 7 PM.
(although I’m told the chance of “pre-empting” always exists, in which case I will try to inform through a subsequent e-mail later in the week)
I’ll have some videotaped copies available afterwards, in case anyone would care to watch the show at a later date.
BTW, thanks for all your support and interest ever since I embarked upon this incredible journey – all of you from JCC are simply the greatest!
Nancy A. Birkla
Access*Ability Resource Center
Jefferson Community College/SW Campus
1000 Community College Drive
Louisville, KY 40272
Phone: (502) 213-7120
FAX: (502) 213-7255
(dedicated in-office line)