In that time, we’ve introduced thousands of men and women to the power of art and self-expression. Strong, thriving creative communities have developed around our programming, with more experienced writers often mentoring beginners.
At the urging of our students, we at MPWW have started searching for ways to connect our students more closely to the literary community outside of prison walls. Because incarcerated writers are often siloed — dismissed as “prison writers” or confined to prison-specific journals — we’ve also sought to create opportunities for our students to shape the literary landscape itself.
This year, those efforts will come to fruition with the publication of American Precariat: Parables of Exclusion, a first-of-its kind anthology of essays edited and curated by twelve incarcerated writers and published by Coffee House Press. Featuring contributions from renowned essayists like Kao Kalia Yang, Kiese Laymon, Steve Almond, and Valeria Luiselli, this groundbreaking book is “a searing overview of how America’s financial and social systems fail ordinary people” (Publisher’s Weekly).
In 2024, we want to continue our foundational work in the classroom while we increase our efforts to amplify our students’ voices, connect them with new audiences, and shape the literary discourse.
Are you able to make a contribution of any amount to help us?
As a token of our appreciation, all donors giving $100 or more (or a recurring monthly donation of any amount) will receive a copy of American Precariat.
You're welcome to donate by check, if you prefer. Please make your check payable to Minnesota Prison Writing Workshop and mail it to us at P.O. Box 7262, Minneapolis, MN 55407. MPWW is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization and all donations are fully tax-deductible. Our federal Employer Identification Number (EIN) is 47-1890824.
MPWW was founded in 2011 by Jennifer Bowen, who taught a single creative writing class to ten men at Lino Lakes Prison.
Since then, we’ve grown into an organization of over 25 instructors who have taught more than 350 creative writing classes to over 4,000 men and women in every adult state prison in Minnesota.
We also facilitate a one-on-one mail mentor program, publish an annual anthology of student writing, and host multiple public readings of student work each year.
Our students have published multiple books and chapbooks, as well as poems, essays, and stories in journals of national reach, such as Agni, The Nation, Poetry Magazine, and The Washington Post.
Over 2 million people are incarcerated in the U.S. with little access to quality arts or educational programming. Your gifts allow us to bridge that gap.
MPWW is a lot of things: an arts organization, a group of educators, a bridge between writers inside and outside of prison. More than anything, it's a community. We're so grateful you're a part of it. Thank you.
If you prefer to donate offline, you can also send a check to:
MPWW, P.O. Box 7262, Minneapolis, MN 55407.
Photos of MPWW students by Emily Baxter of We Are All Criminals. For more, check out SEEN, MPWW's partnership with We Are All Criminals, here: https://www.weareallcriminals.org/seen/.