Two amazing playwrights and authors—Liza Jessie Peterson and Kia Corthron—will discuss their plays and books in the context of their work with incarcerated youth.
Liza Jessie Peterson’s book ALL DAY: A YEAR OF LOVE AND SURVIVAL TEACHING INCARCERATED KIDS AT RIKERS ISLAND recounts a year in Liza Jessie Peterson’s classroom at Island Academy, the high school for inmates detained at New York City’s Rikers Island. A poet and actress who had done occasional workshops at the correctional facility, Peterson was ill-prepared for a full-time stint teaching in the GED program for the incarcerated youths. For the first time faced with full days teaching the rambunctious, hyper, and fragile adolescent inmates, “Ms. P” comes to understand the essence of her predominantly Black and Latino students as she attempts not only to educate them, but to instill them with a sense of self-worth long stripped from their lives.
Kia Corthron’s epic novel THE CASTLE CROSS THE MAGNET CARTER won the Center for Fiction’s First Novel Prize in 2016, and sweeps American history from 1941 to the twenty-first century through the lives of four men—two white brothers from rural Alabama, and two black brothers from small-town Maryland—whose journey culminates in an explosive and devastating encounter between the two families. Her plays include MEGASTASIS, inspired by Michelle Alexander’s THE NEW JIM CROW, and BREATHE, BOOM, inspired by her experience teaching playwrighting to incarcerated girls at Rikers.
After their conversation, there will be a Q&A with the audience. Books by both authors will be for sale.