Thursday, November 22, 2007

NL Day Praises New Wally Book

Via Newsday

Wally Lamb is back with second book of prisoner essays

The Day
12:28 PM EST, November 10, 2007

It began quietly enough. Bestselling author Wally Lamb edited a collection of essays written by the female inmates in the writing workshop he leads at the York Correctional Institution the state's only women's prison in Niantic.

But the publication of that 2003 book, "Couldn't Keep It to Myself," quickly unleashed a storm of controversy. The Department of Correction sued those inmate writers for the cost of their incarceration and temporarily shut down the writing program.

Ultimately, the lawsuit was settled and the writing program was reinstated. That program has thrived. Proof of that is a new collection of essays called "I'll Fly Away: Further Testimonies from the Women of York Prison," which Lamb edited. It was just published by HarperCollins.

In his introduction to the new release, Lamb, the author of novels "She's Come Undone" and "I Know This Much Is True" recalls that he didn't want to take on the fight, but "'Couldn't Keep It to Myself' had the power to open minds and challenge stereotypes. The lawsuit had the power to silence writers who had just discovered their voices ..."

In "I'll Fly Away," the women have penned well-drawn, evocative pieces about their experiences: the childhoods they enjoyed, the abuse they suffered, and the lives they lead in prison.

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