Books for changing the world

February 1, 2022 at 5.00pm – 6.30pm

Online Teach-in

The Sentences That Create Us

Join PEN America and Haymarket Books for the launch of The Sentences That Create Us: Crafting a Writer’s Life In Prison.

Online Teach-in


Tuesday, February 1, 5:00 PM ET

The Sentences That Create Us provides a road map for incarcerated people and their allies to have a thriving writing life behind bars—and shared beyond the walls—that draws on the unique insights of more than fifty contributors, most themselves justice-involved, to offer advice, inspiration and resources.

Join editor Caits Meissner for a conversation with contributor Reginald Dwayne Betts, hosted by author Nana Kwame Adjei Brenyah.

Order the book from Haymarket:

***Register through Eventbrite to receive a link to the video conference on the day of the event. This event will also be recorded and live captioning will be provided.***


Reginald Dwayne Betts, after being sentenced to nine years in prison at age sixteen, graduated from Yale Law School. He has published four acclaimed books, most recently the poetry collection Fellon.

Nana Kwame Adjei Brenyah is the New York Times-bestselling author of Friday Black. Originally from Spring Valley, New York, he graduated from SUNY Albany and went on to receive his MFA from Syracuse University.His work has appeared or is forthcoming from numerous publications, including the New York Times Book Review, Esquire, Literary Hub, the Paris Review, Guernica, and Longreads. He was selected by Colson Whitehead as one of the National Book Foundation's “5 Under 35” honorees, is the winner of the PEN/Jean Stein Book Award, and a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle’s John Leonard Award for Best First Book and the Aspen Words Literary Prize.

Caits Meissner is the Director of Prison and Justice Writing at PEN America. She is also the author and illustrator of hybrid poetry book Let It Die Hungry (The Operating System, 2016). A multidisciplinary creator, Meissner's written and visual work has been published in venues including The Guardian, Harper's Bazaar, Medium's Human Parts, The Literary Review, Narrative, Adroit, Drunken Boat, Literary Hub, The Rumpus, [Pank], The Journal and The Offing, among others.