I serve as president of Emrys Literary Foundation Board. About three and a half years ago, our board received a letter from an inmate at Perry Correctional Institution in Pelzer SC, seeking a volunteer instructor to teach an advanced creative writing class. He explained that a group of men had completed an introductory class as well as basic English classes, but wanted to delve deeper. I was in. I had experience teaching at the Detention Center in Greenville and my good friend Carol Young Gallagher, the Emrys Board president at the time, was also in. So, we agreed to pursue the opportunity as a pair, which sounded even better. While we were excited about developing a writing workshop with peer critique in a prison setting, neither of us had any idea that we would witness high skill, remarkable discipline, and gracious insight.Week after week. We have not only met some of the finest writers we have worked with, but also witnessed their work transform into a published work. After about a year of teaching we decided this work was too good not to share. We thought about publishing a small book for them and their families. As time passed and we worked, it took longer and was more complicated than we thought. But rather than a black and white chap book intended as a keepsake for the men and their families, their work has warranted a 130 page, beautifully published book featuring poetry, fiction and nonfiction with reviews by nationally recognized authors. The book will be for sale and released on October 7th. Stay tuned for full book release details next Tuesday!
Anna Katherine Freeland, S.H.E. Contributor