Monday, October 22, 2007

Barbara Parsons @ UConn Torrington

Litchfield County author and survivor of domestic abuse
speaking at UConn Torrington Campus

Fiona de Merell, Litchfield County Writers Project
(860) 626- 6852

Torrington, Conn. - Barbara Parsons, author of Reawakening through Nature: a Prison Reflection and Puzzle Pieces, which chart her experiences as the survivor of domestic abuse, including her incarceration for the fatal shooting of her husband, will be a guest speaker at the University of Connecticut's Torrington campus on Thursday, October 25th, 2007 as part of Professor Nan Taylor's Psychology seminar on violence. The event is co-sponsored by the Litchfield County Writers Project.

Parsons, who works as a gardener and lives quietly in Litchfield County, has now contributed Reawakening through Nature: a Prison Reflection to Wally Lamb's newest anthology, I'll Fly Away: Further Testimonies from the Women of York Prison. A lifelong sufferer of abuse, Parsons shot and killed her third husband in 1996. She survived ten years in York maximum security prison, the only facility of its kind in Connecticut. During this time she wrote the memoir, Puzzle Pieces which was published in Couldn't Keep it to Myself: Testimonies From Our Imprisoned Sisters, an anthology of pieces written by inmates and edited by Wally Lamb. Puzzle Pieces won the renowned PEN/ Newman's Own First Amendment Award in 2004 after being submitted by Lamb. The award, sponsored by actor Paul Newman and author A.E. Hotchner honors a U.S. resident who has "encouraged the use of the written word as a legitimate form of power".

Wally Lamb says, "[Parsons] has hitched her sorrow, fear, despair and anger to vivid remembered detail and transferred her emotions to the page…. The operative emotion that drives her later pieces is righteous anger." Lamb, who teaches writing workshops at the maximum-security York Correctional Institution, also says, "We are a paradoxical nation, enormously charitable and stubbornly unforgiving. We have called into existence the prisons we wanted. I am less and less convinced they are the prisons we need."

Davyne Verstandig, director of the Litchfield County Writers Project says, "This is the second visit by Barbara Parsons to the UConn Torrington campus. She was here in 2005 for Domestic Violence Awareness Week and her bravery and courage was palpable. Her writing is powerful in its directness and clarity. She moved our entire audience as I am certain she will again. The Litchfield County Writers Project is honored to have her here."

Barbara Parsons will speak at the UConn Torrington campus in the Francis W. Hogan Lecture Hall, M. Adela Eads building, 855 University Drive, Torrington, CT 06790. This event is sponsored by the UConn Psychology Department and The Litchfield County Writers Project. LCWP provides programs that celebrate the work of Litchfield County writers and support the academic aims of the University of Connecticut. The Torrington UConn Co-op carries all the books for LCWP events, available to students and the general public. The Co-op will be selling I'll Fly Away and Couldn't Keep It to Myself at this event.

This event is free and open to the public. For further information please visit, call 860-626-6852 or email

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